Omaha man presented award for saving two from burning vehicle

OMAHA, Neb. -- Tuesday, the Nebraska State Patrol presented a citizen Public Service Award to Frank Axiotes for his heroic efforts to save two people from a burning vehicle, following a crash on Interstate 80 in Lincoln last year.

The crash occurred on September 25, 2020, near 27th Street in Lincoln. Axiotes was driving eastbound on I-80 when he witnessed the three-vehicle crash in the westbound lanes.

Axiotes pulled over, ran across the eastbound lanes, and began attempts to assist those involved in the crash. The crash caused a fire that spread among the vehicles.

Axiotes ran to a Chevrolet Trailblazer that was pinned between a semi and the jersey barrier. He was able to safely help remove a 9-year-old boy from the back of the vehicle.

He and another witness then worked together to break a window to get the boy’s sister, Maddie Daly, 21, out of the vehicle after she had been trapped inside.

“I just heard screaming and people telling me to get out and I didn’t know what was happening,” said Daly during Tuesday’s presentation. “I turned around and I saw my whole back end of my car in flames, and that is when Frank stepped in and it was like a superhero movie. He jumped on top of the car and started punching in the windshield... I don’t want to think about what would happen if he wasn’t there to help.”

“I just stepped into action. I didn’t even think,” said Frank Axiotes. “I am so glad that they are okay and were able to walk away from that. You look back at the pictures and think back at the day and thank God he was looking out for us.”

In total, four people were transported to the hospital with minor injuries, thanks to the quick actions of Mr. Axiotes and other witnesses. Captain Martin Denton and Sergeant Jason Stahl presented the award today.

“This is just a small token of our appreciation as an agency for what you did for them,” said Sgt. Stahl to Axiotes. “I personally want to thank you for saving their lives on that particular day.”