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Utility mechanic earns Hero Pin for preventing a deadly multi-car crash

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Posted at 1:46 PM, Sep 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-28 18:10:35-04

A Baltimore County utility mechanic was presented with a Hero Pin after potentially preventing a deadly crash on the Beltway earlier this year.

Thursday afternoon, Kevin Kamenetz presented the Baltimore County Hero Pin to Lassell 'Tony' Burger, who is a Bureau of Utilities Masonry Mechanic.

One Thursday in July, an elderly man was in medical distress and was not fully in control of his car. He was traveling at highway speeds on the left shoulder of the inner loop of the Baltimore Beltway, and was erratically moving, even occasionally hitting traffic cones and signs. 

Burger was leaving a job site where he had completed a storm drain repair when he saw the car swerving. He realized something was wrong and turned on his emergency lights and blew his horn, hoping to get the drivers attention. 

Burger said he knew he had to do something, because if he didn't the driver was likely to crash, potentially killing himself and others. 

After no success of getting the drivers attention, Burger positioned his county truck in front of the car and prepared to collide with it, to slow it down and bring it to a safe stop. Right before the two cars were about to make contact, the out of control car hit a storm drain gate, blew a tire, and careened into the jersey wall. 

Police and medical staff responded and took the driver of the car to the hospital. 

The driver of the car was Robert 'Mighty Moe' Bruce. He is an Air Force veteran who worked for A&T and Western Electric as a radar technician. Bruce's wife says he is the winner of four Golden Glove boxing championships. He and his wife have lived in Baltimore County for almost 40 years. 

Burger has been with Baltimore County since 2010, and says he does not consider himself a hero, he was responding based on how his parents raised him.