Brian Edlund had a broken pelvis and flames were closing in on him after his car had crashed into a tree on Summer Street.
That’s when Easton police officer Charles Hopkins joined other bystanders and pulled Edlund to safety, dislodging him from the fiery wreck and dragging him to safety. Two years later, Edlund remains thankful, theEnterprise reported.
“A lot of people say I am very blessed,” said Edlund, 53, on Monday.
On Saturday, the same officer who helped save Edlund died on duty, said Easton police Lt. Gary Sullivan. Sullivan would provide no other details, except to say Hopkins’ death left him “with a heavy heart.”
“Officer Hopkins was a dedicated veteran of the Easton Police Department for more than 13 years,” Sullivan said. “More importantly, Charlie was a devoted husband and father of three children.”
Police responded to Beaver Dam Road after receiving an emergency call reporting a sudden death at 12:27 p.m. Saturday.
State police detectives and the medical examiner responded to the scene to investigate.
Gregg Miliote, spokesman for the Bristol County district attorney’s office said there is no criminal investigation in the matter, which is classified as a sudden death.
Miliote said Hopkins died at home while on duty.
Easton Fire Chief Kevin Partridge remembered Hopkins as a very professional and quiet person.
“He was always there to help and it’s all very sad. We feel for our brother police officers,” Partridge said.
Easton Police Chief Allen Krajcik could not be reached for comment Monday.
In 2012, Krajcik said at the time that Hopkins along with others, risked his life to save Edlund.
“These gentlemen, without any regard for their own safety, went out and clearly saved that man’s life,” Krajcik said at the time.
Several public safety officers have died within the last year. Two Boston firefighters died on March 26 fighting a fire in the Back Bay. That fire claimed the lives of Boston fire Lt. Edward Walsh, 43, and Boston firefighter Michael Kennedy, 33.
State police said that state trooper Gregory Jasinskas, 40, of West Bridgewater, committed suicide last July. And West Bridgewater police officer Sgt. Gregory Ames was found dead in his Bridgewater home in what the district attorney’s office called an unattended death in last June.
The sudden death of an emergency responder is felt by an entire department said Mitch Librett, a criminal justice professor at Bridgewater State University, who worked as a New York police officer for 23 years.
“When something like a sudden death happens, it has a tremendous impact on the well-being of any organization,” he said. “And in a small organization it is magnified exponentially. It’s a terrible thing.”