Bibb County sheriff’s deputy Scott Rickert was checking on businesses along Northside Drive about 2 a.m. Monday morning when he heard the crash.
A car had run off the road, clipped a business sign and hopped the curb at Elnora Drive before smashing into a gas pump at Circle K.
The gas pump had been torn from the island and knocked into the front corner of the store, where it erupted in flames. The car came to rest.
The driver, a Stockbridge man, tried to run away, but was arrested in the parking lot by a sergeant.
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Rickert went to check the car for passengers, but there weren’t any. Then, he went looking for the store clerk.
“I went inside and noticed she was stuck behind a counter because the door getting out for the booth was on fire,” Rickert said, adding that the clerk was in complete shock and didn’t know what had happened. “When I went in to grab her, she was still trying to dial 911.”
Rickert pulled the clerk over the counter and out of the window of the cashier’s compartment, saving the woman’s life.
In his eight years on patrol, 39-year-old Rickert, a Wisconsin native, said he’d never experienced any similar circumstances as a deputy.
He said his time in the U.S. Marine Corps likely helped prepare him to deal with the high-stress situation.
Over the years, the deputy has become familiar with most of the clerks at Circle K.
The woman he saved hadn’t been working there long, but Rickert said “she thanked me after the fire was out for saving her life.”