23-year-old woman reunites with Indiana State Police trooper who saved her life

Woman reunites with Indiana State trooper who saved her

An Indiana State trooper saved a 23-year-old woman trapped inside a car sinking feet below the surface of a pond.  Wednesday, they saw each other again for the first time since the day of the accident.  “One minute I’m on the road, next minute I’m in water," said Megan Fleetwood. Fleetwood said the crash happened fast on her way home from work on State Route 11.  “My contact started bothering me, so I rubbed my eye -- just a completely fluke thing -- and my contact ended up falling out, and so my eyes couldn’t focus," said Fleetwood.  Her car went into the pond, and, within minutes, water was up to her neck.  “I still can’t swim, and I mean, just going through my head was, 'Well, this is going to be bad.'  I can’t get out; the power windows had already stopped working.  It was just panic," said Fleetwood.  By the time Sgt. Stephen Wheeles got to her car, all he could see was the piece of glass on the back window.  “I could obviously see her through the back window, and obviously very frantic that she needed out of there quickly," said Wheeles.  He dove into the water with a hammer that a witness gave him.  “I was very surprised that one hit the whole thing disappeared.  I went to grab for her and she was already halfway out.  She was coming out on her own," said Wheeles.  Wheeles doesn't consider himself a hero.  The rescue is his duty, but he said it's the others involved who made the difference. “She was in the water a lot longer than I was, so I mean, the mental strength that it took her to survive that and keep her head about her in that cold water -- that says a lot about her," said Wheeles.  In that freezing water, Fleetwood said she recognized Wheeles from church.  Out of a really scary moment, the two share an even stronger bond.  “My mom actually passed away last year, and so it was kind of just like -- I don’t know.  We believe in guardian angels.  I don’t know how other people feel, but it was definitely like someone was watching over," said Fleetwood.  Fleetwood suffered a concussion and Wheeles hurt his hand punching through the windshield -- relatively minor injuries compared to what could have happened.

12/11/19

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Fallen Illinois State Police trooper honored in highway dedication ceremony

Fallen Illinois ST highway dedicated to him

Illinois State Police Trooper Christopher Lambert died protecting a group of fellow citizens on a suburban expressway.  That stretch of I-294 near Willow Road in Northbrook is now named in Lambert's honor, after a solemn dedication ceremony Thursday attended by his widow, Halley, two young daughters and dozens of law enforcement peers.  But his former colleagues hope the sign above the roadway reading "Trooper Christopher Lambert Memorial Highway" serves as more than a reminder of the trooper's sacrifice.  "We hope that as (drivers) see the signs honoring troopers who've lost their lives in the line of duty, it's a daily reminder to drive responsibly," state police Sgt. Jacqueline Cepeda said after Thursday's dedication ceremony at the Rosemont Theatre.  State police say Lambert, 34, lost his life because another driver didn't heed that message.  The five-year state police veteran was on his way home to Highland Park after wrapping up a day patrolling the tollway system on a snowy Jan. 12 when he spotted a three-car pileup on northbound I-294.  A Dayton, Ohio-native who served in the U.S. Army before joining the state police in 2015, Lambert pulled over to help and keep those involved in the collisions safe.  He was standing outside his patrol vehicle when an SUV that failed to slow down or move over struck him.  He succumbed to his injuries later that evening.  "Chris left this world the way he lived, putting the well-being of others above his own," the Rev. Harold Stanger said during Thursday's service.  State police Director Brendan Kelly said Lambert won praise during his time with the agency for his leadership and dedication to serving others, traits that extended beyond his law enforcement work.  "Chris lived a purposeful life, a life of service," Kelly said. "But his most important role was as a loving son, husband and father."

12/9/19

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Illinois State Police troopers help deliver heart for transplant

Illinois State Trooper help deliver heart

Time was of the essence for two Illinois state troopers. It was a little after 4 a.m. CST Tuesday on Interstate 55 when a vehicle carrying a fresh human heart got a flat tire. Along with the organ going to the University of Chicago Medical Center's Hyde Park campus from the airport: a surgeon, transplant coordinator and medical student. "There is about a 4- to 6-hour window of time for a heart to remain viable for surgery, and the team had already been traveling for approximately three hours," said hospital spokeswoman Ashley Heher. That's when the troopers showed up, responding to a call for a disabled vehicle, according to an Illinois State Police press release. "The Troopers immediately realized this was a time-sensitive situation and without hesitation they transported the three people and the donor organ to the academic medical center," the release said. The delivery was made in time, and the doctors were able to provide the patient with a new heart. "Our District Chicago Troopers were able to turn a potentially bad situation into a thankful ending for at least one family this Thanksgiving holiday," said Interim Capt. Angelo Mollo. "I am extremely proud of our officers who acted without hesitation in this life saving transport."

12/5/19

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Utah Highway Patrol trooper has a near-death experience for the second time in six months

Utah HP Trooper almost killed 2nd time

A Utah state highway trooper narrowly avoided death last week, for the second time in six months.  Trooper Riley Rugg was helping a driver Monday evening when an oncoming vehicle smashed into his patrol car, sending the police vehicle toward him.  Rugg just avoided the crash -- jumping behind a highway barrier to protect himself.  His car wasn't as lucky, with the bumper hanging off and the back windshield obliterated.  Rugg experienced a similar incident on July 4, he told CNN affiliate KTVX.  While he attended to a highway accident, a speeding Ford F-350 rolled over the top of his squad car, he told KTVX.  Rugg had just walked away and escaped the incident without a scratch.  "Just a mile an hour or two difference in speed could have made the situation a lot different, better or worse, so I'm just grateful how it happened that we weren't injured," he said.  Still, Rugg told KTVX he saw "a little bit, maybe, of my life flashing before my eyes" after the run-in this week.

12/5/19

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Sheriff Deputy becomes an Alabama State trooper in memory of daughter

Alabama new trooper graduates in honor of daughter

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency welcomed its largest class of new state troopers in the past 20 years last week. Jere Jensen has worked in law enforcement for years both as a sheriff's deputy and as a part of the National Guard, but the events of one night made him change career paths. "Working for the sheriff's department, you never knew what was going to happen,” said Jensen. “We had so many responsibilities. We would answer calls for assistance. I was the guy that would get the wild animal calls." Jere Jensen had plenty of bizarre stories from his time as a Geneva County Sheriff's Deputy. He also had a number of scary experiences during his 26 years of military service, but the scariest night of his life was just a few months ago. "February of this year I lost my daughter,” said Jensen. “She was killed in a traffic crash on I-65. That experience changed my focus." Jensen's daughter Lindsey was just 22-years-old and left behind a young daughter. He was so impressed by how the state troopers handled the situation; he joined the ranks and dedicated his career to her memory. "I realized that if I got the chance to do this, I could directly impact safety and prevent, directly, the loss of lives of innocent young people like my daughter," said Jensen. After hearing about Jere's inspiration, the other 54 members of his graduating class dedicated their careers to Lindsey as well. "I think she would completely understand why this is my calling now, and I think she would be proud and honored that I have become an Alabama State Trooper,” said Jensen. Jere just started his trooper career on Saturday. He will be in field training for a few weeks, then will be on his own patrolling the western parts of the Wiregrass.

To watch video, go to:  https://www.wtvy.com/wrgx/content/news/Geneva-sheriffs-deputy-becomes-state-trooper-in-memory-of-daughter-565507022.html?jwsource=cl

12/2/19

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Indiana State Police trooper saves woman trapped in water submerged car

Indiana SP Trooper safe women from submerged car

An Indiana State Police trooper used a hammer to bust out a window, saving a woman that was trapped in a submerged vehicle.  On Friday afternoon, ISP Sergeant Stephen Wheeles was sent to a crash where a woman was trapped inside of a vehicle that was in water.  He arrived near State Road 11 and County Road 800 East in Jackson County to find the sinking car.  The driver, 23-year-old Megan Fleetwood of Jeffersonville, was trapped.  Wheeles was handed a hammer from another person on the scene.  He used it to bash out the back window and pull Fleetwood to safety.  She was taken to Schneck Medical Center in Seymour.  Wheeles went to the hospital with hand and arm injuries.

11/26/19

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Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper sustains serious injuries after being struck by car while investigating crash

Ohio Trooper struck by car November 2019

A trooper from the Ohio State Highway Patrol was hospitalized early Thursday morning after he was struck by vehicle while investigating a crash on U.S. 42 in Madison County, located outside of Columbus, according to a post from the OSHP.  At approximately around 6:10 a.m., Trooper Jason R. Hofmann was struck while investigating a two-vehicle minor injury crash on U.S. 42 near Interstate 70.  Hofmann was outside his patrol car wearing a reflective vest while taking measurements on the right side of the berm when a tan Chevrolet Astro van traveling south on U.S. 42 drifted off the right side of the road and struck Hofmann.  Hofmann sustained serious injuries and was transported via med flight to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.  The driver of the van, identified as a 64-year-old woman from Plain City, was not injured.  The state law requires drivers to move over to an adjacent lane when approaching any vehicle with flashing or rotating lights parked on the roadside.  It says drivers should slow down if moving over isn’t possible due to traffic, weather conditions or the lack of a second lane.

11/25/19

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Illinois State Police trooper throws woman to safety seconds before sliding truck crashes

Illinois SP Trooper save couple from barreling truck 

An Illinois couple who survived an incredibly close call on an icy interstate last week hopes their story and dramatic dashcam video will cause drivers to be more careful. The video from the Illinois State Police shows a box truck barreling toward the couple as two Illinois State Troopers are assisting them. Peggy and Wilbur “Bud” Vaught live in Fairfield, Illinois. They were on the side of I-64 when they discovered they had a flat tire.  Peggy Vaught was standing next to a trooper who was helping them when the truck started sliding. She said, “It was over with before I knew what was going on.” The video shows a trooper grabbing her and throwing her into a ditch to protect her from the sliding truck.  She estimates the truck was approximately 6 inches above her head as it passed over her.  Her husband was still in their car and managed to walk away from the crash even though it totaled their vehicle.  Peggy has a broken wrist. “I’m still covered with bruises and everything but if I come out of this with only a broken wrist, that’s good,” she said. The driver of the truck was cited for driving too fast for conditions and failure to reduce speed.  The Vaught's hope their story will help other drivers see just how important it is to slow down and move over when possible in situations where first responders or flashing lights are on an interstate shoulder.  The Illinois State Police reminds drivers that is the law Illinois. “Slow down,” said Peggy Vaught.  “No one’s paying attention anymore.”

To watch video, go to: https://whnt.com/2019/11/19/trooper-throws-woman-to-safety-seconds-before-sliding-truck-crashes/ 

11/21/19

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Maryland State Police trooper pulls man from burning car

MDSP trooper saves man frm burning car

A Maryland State Trooper rescued a passenger from a burning vehicle after it was involved in a collision early Sunday morning, state police said. Troopers from the Frederick Barrack were called to the area of eastbound Interstate 70 at Braddock Mountain for a report of a single-vehicle collision. When they arrived, they saw the vehicle had overturned and was on fire. Corporal Wagoner of the MSP also saw a man in the passenger side of the vehicle later identified as Jessie McMullen, 21, of Myersville. McMullen was also on fire, state police said. Cpl. Wagoner used his fire extinguisher and extinguished the flames on McMullen, then removed him from the vehicle. McMullen suffered third-degree burns and was taken by helicopter to Shock Trauma in Baltimore, where he is listed in stable condition. The trooper was not injured.

11/19/19

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Off-Duty Indiana State Police trooper helps save boy after he falls through ice on pond

ISP trooper helps rescue boy fallen in retention pond

An off-duty Indiana State Police trooper helped save a boy Friday evening after he fell through the ice on a retention pond near Winona Lake.  Around 6 p.m., Trooper Jacob Bill saw a Winona Lake Police Department officer responding to an incident with his lights and sirens on, so Bill decided to follow and see if he could help, according to a press release from ISP.  When they arrived near County Road 325 East and Wooster Road, bystanders were yelling and pointing to an 11-year-old boy in the water.  Bill ran into the water and swam out to the boy, grabbed him by the collar, and tried to get him back to shore, according to the release.  WLPD Officer Dave Swain entered the water to help them when they got caught up in the broken ice.  WLPD Sgt. Joe Bumbaugh arrived and helped all three people get out of the water, according to the release.  The boy was taken to a local hospital, where he was treated and released, according to the release.  “I was just glad that I was in the right place at the right time," Bill said.

11/18/19

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Daniel Solow named as Colonel of the Nevada Highway Patrol

Nevada HP new Colonel November 2019

Nevada Department of Public Safety Director George Togliatti announced the appointment of Daniel Solow as Colonel of the Nevada Highway Patrol effective Monday, Nov. 8, 2019.  Colonel Solow was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in December 2017 and has been with the Department since 1995, beginning his career with the Nevada DPS as a Trooper serving the Laughlin/Searchlight district.  The previous NHP Colonel, John O'Rourke, retired in August 2019.  Solow has promoted through the Nevada DPS ranks during his career and has held various assignments in both rural and urban Traffic Operations, Administrative Support Services, and Commercial Enforcement.  “Colonel Solow brings great experience and knowledge to the position with his years of service in multiple locations and capacities with the Department,” said Nevada DPS Director George Togliatti. Solow, a Veteran of the US Coast Guard, is a graduate of UNLV, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Science.  He is also a graduate of the Northwestern College for Police Staff and Command and Rapport Leadership Breakthrough and has been awarded Nevada POST's (Peace Officer Standards and Training) certificates through Executive.  Colonel Solow is an active member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Nevada Sheriffs and Chiefs Association, and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.  “It is an honor and humbling to serve as Colonel of the Nevada Highway Patrol,” said Colonel Daniel Solow.  “I look forward to continuing the drive towards zero crashes on Nevada highways, making them the safest in the country, working together with the dedicated Troopers of the Patrol.”

11/15/19

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Christopher Mason named the new superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police

MSP New Superintendent November 2019

Gov. Charlie Baker tapped Lt. Col. Christopher Mason November 13 to replace retiring Col. Kerry Gilpin as the next superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police. “At a pivotal time for Massachusetts State Police, Chris Mason has the experience and vision to lead the Department forward with reforms and innovation that will shape its future,” Baker said. “Our administration is grateful for the changes put in motion under Colonel Kerry Gilpin, and supports Colonel Mason as he completes critical reforms to finish Troop E internal affairs investigations and fully implement AVL technology and the body camera procurement. Drawing on his years of experience, we are confident Colonel Mason will lay out a vision for the Department’s future that will bring meaningful reform and restored public trust to the Commonwealth,” Baker added. Mason, who will take the reins on Friday, Nov. 15, indicated a commitment to restoring public faith in the department during a press conference at the State House Wednesday. He laid out a plan to improve accountability and conduct through ethics training, which will focus on the overtime abuse scandal within the now disbanded Troop E, and increasing diversity within the agency. “I am grateful for the remarkable trust that Governor Baker and his Administration have placed in me,” Mason said. “I promise to earn that trust every day with the men and women of the Massachusetts State Police who reflect our values of honesty, integrity, and service.  These values are foremost in my mind as we move the Department and our public safety mission forward.”

11/15/19

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Michigan State Police host their annual "Stuff The Turkey"

Mich SP Stuff the Turkey

Michigan State Troopers collected food on Saturday, to put together Thanksgiving meals for those in need.  Troopers were at Wal-Mart in Plainwell and Hastings, Mich. collecting non-perishable food items for those who may not be able to afford a meal this holiday season.  According to Feed America, around 10,000 people in Allegan County and over 30,000 in Kalamazoo County don't have consistent access to food.  Local food banks said the need becomes even greater around the holidays and they will see four to five more families a day needing food assistance this time of the year. "November happens to be one of our busier months of the year," said Kim Shafer with Christian Neighbors Food Pantry.  "Since November first we've already served over 100 families, so the need is obviously greater during the holiday season which means our shelves need more attention than ever”.  Michigan State Trooper Steve Wood said MSP has been hosting a food drive for years and it's there way to help out the community. "Especially around the holidays when it's supposed to be the best time of the year and when you don't have food on your table, you don't have those basic needs, it's really hard to find joy in this time," Wood said.  Shafer said they need donations for almost everything this time of the year, especially things like peanut butter and jelly, boxed pasta and personal hygiene items.

11/13/19

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Brendan Kelly confirmed as Illinois State Police head

ISP Brendan Kelly

The newly confirmed director of the Illinois State Police said he needs more troopers.  The Illinois Senate voted two weeks ago to confirm Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s nomination for director of the Illinois State Police.  Brendan Kelly has served as acting director of the agency since January.  The Senate unanimously approved Kelly’s nomination.  In Kelly’s tenure as acting director, he has overseen the agency during one of the most difficult years in the almost 100-year history of the agency.  The state police have had a record number of officer deaths this year, plus a record number of troopers involved in traffic crashes that have resulted in injuries.  Kelly said he will serve as the chairman of the “Move Over Task Force,” which he said will be important to implement technology and recommendations to the General Assembly to improve the protection of first responders on state roadways. Looking forward, Kelly said he’s placing an emphasis on growing the ranks of the Illinois State Police.  The police agency employs around 1,700 sworn personnel.  “I’d like to see us get to over 2,000 sworn personnel, pretty soon,” Kelly said.  That's a top priority for Kelly.  "In order to meet the many missions that the public expects us to accomplish, we need the manpower to be able to do it," he said.  "We need people.  It’s not enough to have good ideas and good policies, you have to have the people to do the work."  Kelly recently spoke at the Illinois State Police cadet graduation, which added 57 new Illinois State Police troopers.  Kelly said having regular cadet classes is important.  “We would like to get on the steady stream of two cadet classes a year, and I think we may actually be able to get ahead of that,” he said.  The vision for the new director’s growth won’t just be on the roadways.  Kelly said he wants more people for the state police’s crime lab and other parts of the agency that provide services to local and county agencies across the state.  “I’m very glad to be able to get the governor to sign an executive order recreating the division of criminal investigations, so we can focus on violent crime, drugs and public integrity,” he said.  Kelly said the backlog of DNA testing must be a top priority.  “We have to get at the backlogs that have been epidemic across this country, not just in the state of Illinois,” he said.  He said the backlog in DNA testing for sexual assaults has come down about 10 percent since January.  The DNA backlogs are not the only testing delays Kelly has been focused on.  "But also the drug chemistry backlog," he said.  "Anytime there is a flood of one particular controlled substance like meth, or heroin or fentanyl into a community, there are more cases, there are more substances that we have to test, that can create a bubble."  Most recently, Kelly had served as the St. Clair County State’s Attorney.  He is the eighth director of the Illinois State Police, and he isn’t the first not have prior experience as a sworn officer.  When the director’s position was created in 1987, the first director of the Illinois State Police was Jeremy Margolis, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney.

11/12/19

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Vermont State Police take to the skies with drone capability

  VSP Drones

 

Vermont State Police recently launched a new squadron of 11 drones that they plan to use to assist them all over the state.  But what exactly are they using them for?  With a whine in the air, state police on Wednesday launched a new era of policing from the sky.  After just a few minutes in the air, troopers have a bird's-eye view of a mock crash scene.  "It's giving us a perspective we have never had before," said VSP Trooper Tom Howard. Officials say that over $100,000 in grants paid for the 11 drones and training for the 13 troopers to be certified as drone pilots by the Federal Aviation Administration.  "We are more learning to utilize the drones for accident and crash reconstruction and search and rescue missions," Lt. Cory Lozier said. This could mean less time for the crash reconstruction team with troopers safe and away from the scene, a technique already put to use at an accident last week in Rutland.  "This tool can map that same area that once would take three hours in seven minutes," Tpr. Tom Howard said.  And with tools like thermal imaging cameras, they say the drone could help save lives on rescue missions.  "We now have the ability that we have never had before to locate people once it goes dark," Lt. Lozier said.  VSP officials say the drones could also aid in criminal investigations. But with that view from above, could they invade the privacy of Vermont citizens?  Reporter Ike Bendavid: Will this be used for surveillance?  Lt. Cory Lozier. No, these drones will not be used for any warrantless searches, unless we apply for a warrant.  The American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont agrees that drones can help protect police as long as they are following the law.  "What's important is any use of drones comply with Vermont law.  That does place significant restrictions on when law enforcement can use drones," said the group's Lia Earnst.  She says those restrictions include the use of facial recognition or surveillance of public protests.  VSP officials say they know the law and will follow it.  "We know what we can and cannot do with them -- we will abide by that," Lt. Lozier said.  Making the work of law enforcement quicker and safer -- from the sky.

To watch video, go to:  https://www.wcax.com/content/news/Vermont-State-Police-take-to-the-skies-with-drone-capability-564121241.html?jwsource=cl

11/12/19

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