Off-duty Orlando firefighter pulls Seminole County deputy from burning wreck, officials say

Deputy listed in stable condition, FHP says

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – A 33-year-old Seminole County deputy was hospitalized Saturday after a patrol vehicle he was driving crashed and caught fire near Sanford, prompting a roadblock on South Orange Boulevard, according to the Florida Highway Patrol and the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the FHP’s crash report, the sheriff’s office SUV — being driven by Deputy Matthew Luxon, of DeLand — was traveling northbound on South Orange Boulevard, south of Wayside Drive.

Troopers said the SUV crossed the center line, traveled onto the southbound paved shoulder and slammed into a bridge abutment.

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According to the report, the vehicle was engulfed by flames, but Luxon was removed from the vehicle prior to it becoming fully involved.

A Facebook post by Orlando Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 1365 said that Orlando Fire Department Lt. Ben Wootson was driving with his son when he witnessed the crash.


The post read in part, “Without a moment’s hesitation, he drove to the scene to assist leaving his son in the car. When he arrived at the vehicle he realized it was on fire and pulled the Deputy from the burning vehicle a safe distance and began assessing the Deputy for injuries.”

According to the post, Wootson used Luxon’s radio to call for help and his quick thinking saved the deputy’s life.

The single-vehicle crash occurred around 10:25 a.m., the sheriff’s office said in a statement. Troopers were dispatched to the scene at 10:40 a.m., reaching the area of South Orange Boulevard’s intersection with Wayside Drive (South Orange Avenue) around 10:46 a.m., records show.

An update before 1 p.m. stated Luxon was alert and able to communicate with medical personnel while on his way for treatment, according to the sheriff’s office. FHP later said he was listed in stable condition.

The sheriff’s office said in a statement Sunday that Luxon is believed to have crashed due to a medical emergency, adding he underwent successful surgeries, has “a long recovery ahead” and his team is “forever grateful” to Wootson for the heroic act.

South Orange Boulevard was closed as the bridge above the scene of the fiery crash underwent a structural evaluation, according to the sheriff’s office.

The roadway was open completely at 1:11 p.m., troopers said. According to the FHP, the bridge did not sustain any damage.

A GoFundMe account was created to help the Luxon family.

The account, created by Luxon’s coworker, said, “Matt has to undergo numerous surgeries and is going to have a long road to recovery. Matt has worked for Seminole County Sheriff’s Office for over 7 years and is a member of our SWAT team. Matt is an all around great person with a great sense of humor. Matt’s wife and two boys are going to need all the help they can get and we want to be there for them!”

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About the Authors:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.

Jacob joined in 2022. He spent 19 years at the Orlando Sentinel, mostly as a photojournalist and video journalist, before joining Spectrum News 13 as a web editor and digital journalist in 2021.