Former UK football player pulls man, dog from burning car

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MERCER COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - A former UK football player was in the right place at the right time.

Dennis Johnson played for the University of Kentucky beginning in 1998. He went on to play for the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers and now serves as the head coach for Woodford County High School. On Sunday, he put his skills to use to help save a life.

Johnson was driving along US 68 in Mercer County with his wife and three children on Sunday afternoon.

"On our way after church to Harrodsburg, going to my mother and father's house," Johnson recalled.

The trip took an unexpected turn.

"We saw some smoke coming from the car. Then all of a sudden, the guy got on to the other side of the road and kind of into ditch, and we saw the car started burning a little a bit," Johnson said.

Johnson didn't hesitate, pulling off the road to run towards the burning car.

" He had a little dog in his car, and he went back in the car to get the dog. So, we kind of pulled him out. You could tell he had probably been inhaling the smoke," Johnson explained.

Johnson carried the man and his dog safely about 50 feet down the road.

"Right when we got down far enough away, his alarm started going off. His trunk popped off because of the smoke, and next thing you know, we heard a big explosion."

Johnson says he is sharing his story in hopes it sends a simple, but important message.

"Always be kind to people. It's about helping other people. It's not about yourself," Johnson said. "There's a lot of people in need. It kind of brought my life back to reality, you know. There is always someone off worse than you."

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