MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- The Murfreesboro Police Department recently honored police officers and a citizen at an annaul awards ceremony for their exceptional service to the community.
First recognized were Detective Garry Templeton, Sgts. Jim Wyatt and Chris Ashley, who received the 20 Years of Service Award.
Chief of Police Glenn Chrisman, accompanied by Deputy Chief Michael Bowen, Assistant Chief Roy Fields, and City Manager Rob Lyons expressed their gratitude for their years of service and dedication to the city of Murfreesboro and its residents.
Next, Officer Travis Ledford and Officer Nathan Frost received the Medal of Valor, and resident James Haynes was awarded the Citizens Support Award.
The awards were recommended following a February 2013 incident in which the officers observed two vehicles traveling at a high rate of speed on Northwest Broad Street.
The officers attempted to investigate what appeared to be drag racing but lost sight of the vehicles. They then caught a glimpse of one of the vehicles traveling without lights, though it was illuminated by a street light, on Riverview Drive.
Just past the point where the officers had observed the vehicle, the road curves to the right. The driver who was speeding with no lights on and who was unfamiliar with the road was unable to negotiate the curve and crashed head-on into a large tree near the roadway.
The front of the vehicle was destroyed and was on fire with two people trapped inside, according to Police Department officials. The officers ran to the vehicle and struggled with the passenger’s seatbelt, but they could not get it to release.
An officer then jumped into the passenger compartment of the vehicle and continued to try to free the passenger. The second officer used a fire extinguisher and attempted to put out the fire.
The officers were joined by Haynes in attempting to extinguish the growing fire.
Ledford and Frost were able to remove the passenger from the danger and carry him to safety after working in this very hazardous environment for approximately five minutes. Not knowing that the driver was killed from the initial impact of the crash, the officers continued to try to save the trapped driver despite the intense fire.
“The passenger would have most certainly died had it not been for the heroic actions of Officers Ledford and Frost, assisted by Mr. James Haynes," Chrisman said. "These three are American heroes, Murfreesboro heroes.”
-- Marie Kemph, firstname.lastname@example.org