Highway Patrol uses airplane to catch speeders
On a straight piece of highway, it's not easy for a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper to do traffic enforcement. But with the help of a plane flying 2,000 feet above, the highway patrol has another tool to keep the roadways safe. With 14 aircraft across the state of Missouri, the MSHP Aircraft Division's main job is traffic enforcement. In 2015, the Aircraft Division assisted with writing 15,072 citations or warnings. When the division does traffic enforcement, they use three sets of pre-painted "blocks" on the roadway that are measured at 660 feet, or 1/8th of a mile, apart. The pilot uses a stopwatch to time how fast a car crosses through those blocks. The stopwatch is calibrated to the 1/8 mile distance, and is able to give the pilot a speed. The pilot and a trooper on the ground always do a test to make sure the stopwatch and the ground trooper's speedometer are calibrated correctly. When a car crosses the first blocks, the pilot starts his stop watch. When he crosses the second set, he stops the first stopwatch and starts a second stop watch. When the car finally passes through the third set, the pilot stops the second stop watch. The pilot uses these two speeds to determine if the driver is speeding. If the pilot feels the driver is speeding, he will radio to a ground trooper waiting they have a violator. The pilot will tell the ground trooper the color and style of the car, which lane the car is in, and what cars are around the speeding car; any details to give the trooper a better indication of which car needs to be pulled over. Once the trooper gets behind the correct car, the pilot will tell him and the trooper will pull the speeding car off to the shoulder. Once the pilot sees both the trooper and the speeding car on the shoulder, he is able to end visual contact with the violator. The ground trooper will then write the ticket or warning for speeding as well as any other violations the ground trooper sees including if a seat belt was being used. Once that is complete, the ground trooper relays what citations or warnings he's written back to the pilot. In addition to traffic enforcement, the division also helps with search and rescues, manhunts, and pursuits. Using helicopters, the Aircraft Division can access otherwise inaccessible areas such as cliffs and bluffs, or conducting a water rescue when someone is stuck in a flooded home or car. They also assist in locating people, whether they are criminals or lost children. Being in the air, the pilots can see things that otherwise wouldn't be visible from a ground prospective. Being able to have a plane above a pursuit, the MSHP is able to take law enforcement on the ground out of a potentially dangerous situation. The pilot can safely follow the suspect and allow other officers to get in position ahead of the suspect.
19-Year Old Dies after Playing Chicken with the California Highway Patrol
The California Highway Patrol was monitoring a “swap meet” held in the parking lot of a local mall last Sunday. According to the authorities, around 80 trucks and off-road vehicles were participating the meeting, and some of the drivers were performing donuts. Naturally, the officers were watching the drivers while undercover in unmarked cars. At one point into the night, one of the drivers left the scene and was observed driving at speeds of up to 90 mph (145 km/h). The officers continued the pursuit in their unmarked vehicle, and they drove for approximately five miles, until the Chevrolet Silverado reached a dead-end street in Fullerton. At that point, the driver turned the truck around, and attempted a game of “chicken” with the police officers. In layman’s terms, the incredibly dangerous game of “chicken” consists of two vehicles driving directly into each other’s path, and the one that steers away first is considered the "loser." The officers did not want to let the suspect leave the scene and risk an accident with innocent civilians, so they opened fire on the vehicle. Pedro Villanueva, the 19-year-old driver of the red Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, died on the scene. His passenger was injured by a bullet that struck his upper torso, but he is expected to survive. Authorities are unaware whether Villanueva figured out if he was being pursued by a team of undercover police officers when he decided to drive towards them at speed. Villanueva’s family and friends mourn his death, and a GoFundMe page was opened to raise money for his relatives. According to the LaTimes, the page shows a photograph of the 19-year-old man as he is holding a guitar while sitting in the bed of his pick-up truck. We would like to remind you that street racing is dangerous, and getting pursued by the police in any country is a serious offense.
State Trooper Honored for Alabama's First Texting while driving manslaughter conviction
An Alabama State Trooper was recently awarded for his investigation into a crash two years ago that led to what a prosecutor believes is the first manslaughter conviction based on the state's texting and driving law. Trooper Bruce Irvin recently received the citation from Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Stan Stabler, according to the agency's Twitter and Facebook pages. Trooper Irvin is assigned to Highway Patrol's Mobile Post. Two years ago, USA student Miranda "Randi" Hamilton died in a crash that prosecutors blamed on another driver's cell phone use. On Wednesday, that man drew a potentially precedent-setting 10-year split sentence on his manslaughter conviction. Irvin was the traffic investigator for an April 14, 2014 crash on Lott Road, just west of Schillinger road that killed 24-year-old Miranda Hamilton of Mobile. A jury earlier this year found Jonathan Mikeal Raynes, 23, of Purvis, Miss., guilty of manslaughter in the wreck. Raynes was sentenced in April by Circuit Court Judge Robert Smith to a 10-year-split sentence with two years to serve in prison. Raynes is appealing his conviction and sentence to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. Raynes, according to testimony at his trial, had told Irvin that it had not been his phone that distracted him, Irvin testified that he believed otherwise. Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich argued that Raynes was "fixated" on his phone at the time of the crash. Her case was built largely on the testimony of Paul Weathersby, an information technology specialist and digital forensic examiner for the FBI's Mobile division. Weathersby testified that Raynes had been using his cellphone in the hour before the crash mostly to send instant messages or look at profiles of women on dating sites. He used several social media apps, but returned repeatedly to a dating site called Badoo, which he apparently was using for the first time that morning. According to Weathersby testified Raynes last manipulated his phone at 8:57:36 a.m., or 32 seconds before the first 911 call about the wreck was logged. If the prosecution doesn't have a smoking gun in a manslaughter case based on Alabama's texting and driving law, will a warm one do? Based on the verdict in a Mobile case, the answer apparently is "yes.' No eyewitness testified that he was using his phone at the instant of the crash. Rich said earlier this year that she believes this is the first time Alabama's texting and driving statute has been applied in a manslaughter case. The state's texting and driving law went into effect in August 2012. Starting Wednesday in Alabama, car-driving texters, emailers, Facebookers and Twitterers will take on a new handle -- lawbreakers. That's when Alabama becomes the 38th state with a law banning texting and driving.
Alert State Trooper Locates Missing Child and Grandfather on Independence Day
At approximately 3:00 am on July 4, 2016, the New Oreleans Police Departmentcontacted Louisiana State Police about a missing child from the New Orleans area. Roshei Selmon (3 years old) was last seen with his 45 year old grandfather, Roland Williams, and both had been reported missing by their family. Louisiana State Police issued a Level II Endangered/Missing Child Advisory due to the fact that Williams suffers from a medical condition which impairs his judgment. Williams was believed to have been traveling with the child in a beige/tan 2007 Cadillac DTS. Louisiana State Police broadcast the missing person information to all on-duty Troopers. Shortly after 6:00 am, an alert Trooper from State Police Troop A in Baton Rouge spotted the vehicle at a convenience store on Satsuma Rd. near I-12 in Livingston Parish. The vehicle was unoccupied, so the Trooper entered the building to search for the child and his grandfather. Upon searching the building, the Trooper located both Selmon and Williams in the restroom area of the store. Both were unharmed and in good condition. While awaiting confirmation of Selmon and Williams’ identity, the Trooper provided them both with food and water. The New Orleans Police Department and the family of Selmon and Williams were contacted about the recovery.Acadian Ambulance was dispatched to the scene as a precaution, and checked both Selmon and his grandfather for any injuries. Both were in good health, and were released to family members to return home. "Far too often law enforcement and other public safety agencies are called to respond to tragic events,” said Colonel Mike Edmonson, State Police Superintendent. "However, in this darkness, we never stop searching for the light of hope. The successful recovery of this young child and his grandfather are our beacon today. Working together with our public safety partners for positive resolutions are why we do what we do.”
Source:Louisiana State Police Facebook page
Ohio State Patrol:15 year old drives van with intoxicated parents as passengers
Two parents have been charged with child endangerment after police say they had their 15-year-old drive them to Cedar Point - while they were in the car legally intoxicated. An Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper pulled a mini-van over on State Route 2 shortly after 8 a.m. Saturday morning for speeding. When the trooper asked for the driver's information, he discovered that the male was 15 and didn't have a license or even a driver's learning permit. The driver's mother, father and 12-year-old sister were also in the van, with the father in the passenger seat next to the 15-year-old. The trooper noticed "obvious signs of impairment" with the parents and gave them a portable breath test. The father, Timothy McCoy of Reynoldsburg, tested at .184% alcohol content and the mother, Michelle Kirk, also of Reynoldsburg, tested at .265%. The legal limit for blood alcohol in Ohio is .08%. The family said that they had been driving to Cedar Point, had left early in the morning with their 15-year-old driving, and had gotten lost and had been driving all night. Police report that the teen drove all the way from Columbus to Vermilion before they stopped the van. The parents were placed into custody and the family was taken to the Ohio State Patrol post in Sandusky. A grandmother came to pick the children up. McCoy was charged with child endangerment and was taken to the Erie County Jail. Kirk was charged with child endangerment and wrongful entrustment of a vehicle. She was released with her children when her mother arrived to pick them up. Both parents will be in court on July 5th. Children Services in Columbus was notified about the incident and will be given a copy of the report.
In the "Some People Never Learn" Category……. Man sentenced to prison for trying to hire someone to kill state trooper…
A federal prosecutor saya a Massachusetts man charged with trying to hire a hit man to kill his estranged wife has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for trying to hire someone to kill the undercover state trooper who posed as the hit man. Fifty-gour-year old Andrew S. Gordon, a financial planner in Chelmsford, was convicted in March of using the mail and telephone to try to hire a New Hampshire gang member to kill the state trooper and another man, both of who were witnesses in the state case against Gordon. The gang memeber was actually another undercover office. U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz in Boston said in a news release that Gordon was sentenced Tuesday to the prison term plus three years' supervised release and a $20,000 fine.
Head of Louisiana State Police stands by Trooper
The head of the Louisiana State Police voiced unequivocal support Tuesday for a trooper who body-slammed an apparently drunken Illinois man in the French Quarter over the weekend, describing the officer’s use of force as commensurate with conditions on Bourbon Street at 4 a.m. Col. Mike Edmonson, responding to a cellphone video viewed more than a half-million times on Facebook, said the off-duty trooper reacted appropriately under the circumstances and that State Police have not opened an internal investigation into the arrest. “It’s easy to take a tape and pick it apart, but my troopers are dealing with a lot of people who are intoxicated and a lot of unknowns,” Edmonson said in a telephone interview. “Unless you’re in the heat of the moment, you don’t know what’s going on. You don’t know who these individuals are, where they’ve been and what they’re doing.” The arrest happened after 4 a.m. Saturday in the 200 block of Bourbon Street. The trooper, whose name was not released, had just finished a 12-hour shift and was headed to his vehicle when employees at the Beach on Bourbon flagged him down “asking for help with an intoxicated subject refusing to leave” the bar, said Trooper Melissa Matey, a State Police spokeswoman. The Illinois man, 39-year-old Michael Hoffman, apparently had complained that he had not received his debit card back from bartenders, said Joshua Plauche, a Florida photographer who happened upon the incident and filmed it with his cellphone. “In my opinion, it was a misunderstanding,” Plauche said, “but I don’t know on which end.” Hoffman can be heard in the video inquiring about pressing charges and asking the trooper, “How is this OK?” Another man, Hoffman’s brother, initially tried to defuse the situation but later appeared to raise the tension when he stepped between the trooper and his brother. That maneuver prompted the trooper to throw Hoffman’s brother into a row of trash cans lining the street before forcefully taking Hoffman to the ground inside Willie’s Chicken Shack, a business next door to the bar. Hoffman was treated for a cut to the hip but has lodged no complaints about his arrest, Matey said. He received a summons to appear in New Orleans Municipal Court on counts of criminal trespass, public intoxication, disturbing the peace and resisting arrest. Plauche said he had been impressed by the trooper’s patience and demeanor throughout the first several minutes of his dealings with Hoffman. “The cop did a great job in the beginning, when they were talking,” he said, adding that he intends to upload additional footage of the incident. “I respected that.” But the body slam seemed like an overreaction, the photographer said, noting the trooper had not even called for backup. “It was an emotional decision by the officer,” said Plauche, who has not been contacted by any law enforcement officials. “I think of it as the conversation being Point A and the body slam being Point C. The trooper skipped over Point B.” Edmonson said he had no concerns about the trooper’s use of force, adding it was clear from the footage that Hoffman had been resisting arrest. He said the trooper used a common police tactic known as an “arm-bar takedown” to gain control of the situation.
Dash-cam catches bear dashing across Missouri Highway and Crashing into pickup
A Missouri trooper’s dashboard camera caught a bear’s mad dash as it crossed a south-central Missouri highway and crashed into a pickup truck. The bear was not seriously injured when it crossed U.S. 60 near Missouri Route AM north of Willow Springs in rural Howell County. The incident, which happened June 21 and was posted to the Missouri Highway Patrol’s Facebook page, is a reminder to drivers to be aware of their surroundings and watch out for animals that could enter the road, be it a deer or a bear, said Lt. Paul Reinsch, a spokesman for the Missouri Highway Patrol. The patrol warned that as the bear population increases in Missouri, the number of incidents involving them will rise. A crash creates the potential for a dangerous encounter with an injured bear. If a vehicle strikes a bear on the highway, people should stay inside the vehicle and contact the Highway Patrol by dialing *55 on their mobile phones or calling 800-525-5555. Drivers should avoid the urge to swerve when they see an animal run onto the roadway. “It’s better to hit an animal than to swerve and lose control,” Reinsch said. The incident is also an example of the importance of wearing a seat belt in case something unexpected happens — like a bear dashing onto the roadway.
Mercedes-Benz and Alabama State Troopers join forces to promote seat belt safety
The Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa County is teaming up with Alabama State Troopers to promote seatbelt safety awareness. On Monday morning, ALEA used a special rollover simulator at the Vance Mercedes Plant to kick off the annual Safety Awareness Week. Trooper Reginald King says that using the simulator as a visual aide is important to show how deadly it can be when motorists don’t buckle up behind the wheel. “Well, hopefully, it will remind people to buckle up each and every time no matter how short the distance you travel. You want to take that extra 2 to 3 seconds to properly buckle that seatbelt,” King said. Troopers from the Marine Patrol Division were also on hand to display a jet ski simulator for waterway safety demonstrations. Rolf Wrona, Vice President of Human Resources at Mercedes-Benz United States International, says that the partnership with ALEA is good for the community. Thousands of his employees travel local Tuscaloosa County roads each day. Wrona says Mercedes wants to do everything possible to help promote seatbelt safety. “Well, it clearly shows how critical it is for everybody to wearing their seatbelts on the highway,” Wrona said. “It is so important for their safety”. ALEA says 301 people have been killed on Alabama roads this year. 52 percent of the victims who lost their lives were not wearing seatbelts. That is 83 more fatalities then this time last year.
Fill the Truck! West Virginia State Troopers collect items for residents
A local state trooper has organized a “Fill the Truck for West Virginia” drive, in hopes to collect items for residents affected by floods. Over 20 people died in the floods and thousands have lost everything in the natural disaster. Trooper Angela Shaffier may live and work in Central Virginia, but Greenbrier County, West Virginia, is her hometown. “Many people have lost everything they had and are living in shelters,” Shaffier said. “Those who were able to return home have no power, have lost so much and are cleaning up layers of mud after throwing out all of the furniture and appliance [s] that cannot be salvaged.” Shaffier plans to deliver the supplies to West Virginia on Friday, July 1.Cox Transportation donated a truck to haul the items. It is currently set up at 17347 Pouncey Tract Road in Rockville. Donations will be accepted beginning Tuesday morning. People wishing to contact Shaffier can send a message through the Facebook page: Fill the Truck for West Virginia. Shaffier said that any donation will be appreciated, and specific requests are needed for the following items:push brooms, powder lime, large trash bags, large trash cans, gloves, cleaning supplies, bleach, shop vacs, extension cords, shovels, Non-perishable food items, Diapers, wipes, baby formula, personal hygiene products, dog & cat food, coloring books & crayons, kids toys, furniture, blankets, fans, bed linens, towels, flashlights, batteries, cell phone chargers, bottled water, Gatorade, coolers.
South Carolina Highway Patrol Using Emojis to Curb...
South Carolina Highway Patrol Sgt. Bob Beres speaks in a language perhaps best understood by young people but nonetheless universal. His mom is Hungarian, and she speaks little English but she can understand. Spanish speakers can pick it up, so can foreign tourists and people who can't even read, Beres said. About 130 billboards inspired by Beres' language of choice have popped up across the state. He speaks fluent emoji. Those are the little graphic icons used in text messages and on social media. Think a cartoony thumbs-up and various smiley faces. The billboards show emojis representing an alcoholic drink, the plus sign and a car with an equal sign leading to a police car. The message is drinking and driving equals arrest. "It makes you stop and think about the message, which makes you remember it," said Cpl. Bill Rhyne, a spokesman for the Highway Patrol in Greenville. The emoji-based ad campaign will be spreading to iceboxes outside of convenience stores and gas pump handles this summer and will be on high school sports tickets starting with football games in August. There's not a whole lot new about the campaign, or even emojis, but it should prove effective, said Tharon Howard, a Clemson University professor who is director of the master's degree program in professional communications and whose research includes digital publishing. Howard said he was involved in a multimillion-dollar campaign with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in the 1990s using the same basic technology, called emoticons at the time. Graphic symbols supplementing the written word have a long heritage and have been called emoticons, Wingdings, dingbats and printer's ornaments, and way before that, cave paintings. Howard said he saw one of the Highway Patrol's billboards recently and it stuck with him. "I looked at it and tried to figure out the equation," he said. What makes the emojis stick is that they are little puzzles, Howard said. "People pause and try to figure out what they are saying, they decode the emojis and that's fun." It's a form of gamification, the idea that people will want to learn more and naturally retain more when something like advertising borrows the emotional payoffs people get from playing games, Howard said. "It's that impulse to solve problems and play games that really helps emojis reach across cultures," he said. Beres' Twitter posts regularly have detailed puzzles with dozens of emojis. Beres goes all in on the emojis, said Rhyne. "I can send a few emojis here and there," Rhyne said, "but not like the entire sentences using nothing but emojis that Bob can do with his creativity. At the end of the day, we all want to save lives. I don't care how we do it, whether it's through emojis, Facebook, Twitter or talking to people. This is just one of those things that makes you stop and think." As recently as nine months ago Beres had never used an emoji and now he is sought after by national advertising executives for his emoji skills. His first emojis were sent from his Twitter account (@TrooperBob_SCHP) shortly after the state's historic flooding in October, when Beres and other public safety officials were trying to make sure their messages got out. Beres said he found his emojis warning people about the flooding were being shared, and reaching more people, than pictures of trucks falling into sinkholes and getting far more traction than words alone. As he got deeper and deeper into emojis, the calls started pouring in from TV news stations from Connecticut and throughout the country. His emojis have been shared by tens of thousands of people and he was part of an emoji-based advertising campaign featuring State Farm's "Jake" spokesman. Beres said the emojis aren't going anywhere, he still gets hundreds of people interacting with him because he is speaking their language. "We want zero fatalities in South Carolina," Beres said. "Emojis have became a big hit and we didn't expect it." A new batch of 72 emojis was recently announced and should be available for use in the fall, featuring an avocado and icons for "rolling on the floor laughing" as well as clowns, whiskey glasses and stop signs. It'll give puzzlemaster Beres a few new pieces to put together.
Hundreds of Missouri Students say Thank you to the Missouri State Highway Patrol
More than 400 students from the Iberia School District descended upon Missouri State Highway Patrol's (MSHP) Troop I headquarters earlier this month to say thank you to dozens of troopers from across the state. "We got a call from the school district and they said that the students wanted to thank us for our service," said Public Information Officer, Sgt. Cody Fulkerson, of Troop I. The field trip was part of Iberia's summer school program. Kids from pre-K to seventh grade participated along with 30 school staff membes. Thanks to some quick thinking from state troopers from around the state, the visit turned into not only a tour of Troop I's headquarters, but also a look at a number of activities and unique assignments that the highway patrol handles. "We had our canine unit here from Willow Springs, our helicopter unit flew in from Springfield and our local dive team was here," Fulkerson explained. Troop I serves six counties in South Central Missouri. They have 67 uniformed officers. "The kids really enjoyed stepping into the helicopter and checking out our scuba gear and of course enjoyed Trooper Mike Greenan and his dog Dake. The students didn't get back on their buses until they had a good old-fashion lunch of hot dogs, chips and sodas courtesy of some generous donations by local businesses. While the visit was certainly a great experience for the Iberia students, it was an equally touching moment for the state troopers. "This was the first time that we've ever had this large of a group come to our headquarter buildings. It made all of the troopers feel extremely humbled and blessed," Fulkerson said. "We were absolutely amazed at the thoughtfulness and the kindness of all of the students." In fact, Fulkerson said that before they students got back on their buses, a seventh grader asked if he could pray for the safety of the officers. "We were blown away," he noted. "All of the students created a circle around us troopers and held hands while this seventh grader prayed over us." Fulkerson added that in a day and age when so much negativity makes headline news, it was a real inspiration to see these students take their time to show their respect. He concluded," We are all so thankful from the bottom of our hearts."
Rhode Island State Police recruits hit the boxing ring for training
In a garage on the campus of Rhode Island State Police headquarters in Scituate, the latest round of a long-running rite of passage is wrapping up. Recruits in the training academy put on headgear, wear mouthpieces, and wrap tape around boxing gloves before stepping through the ropes of a boxing ring.Rhode Island State Police argue the boxing program for recruits going through their training academy is as intense as any in the country for police. "I'd say it's pretty unique," Lt. Col. Kevin Barry told NBC 10 News. Boxing trainer Pete Grundy said, "We do like 10 full contact sessions. And nobody does that." Barry said recruits have been hurt, have been knocked out. "There have been recruits who've come to this phase of training and have decided it's not for them based on the fact that they got hit and that their reaction wasn't what would actually be able to save their life," Barry said. But he also said safety comes first. "They're well prepared for this," Barry said. "We don't just throw them in there." For more than 25 years, recruits coming through the academy have been under the boxing tutelage of Grundy, a long-time trainer who is quick with his hands and his instruction. "Be first. Nice. Move. Good. Move. Move. Good. Get out of there, Miguel. Beautiful," Grundy barked while moving around the ring as two recruits boxed. "Downstairs. Upstairs. To the body. Combinations," Grundy said while showing the moves recruits have learned. "There's nothing worse than throwing too many punches. Now you got no gas in the tank. What's going to happen if you're on the road and there's no gas in your tank? Now you're in trouble. What are they going to do? Get your gun? Kill you? Kill your partner? Kill the person on the scene?" The idea, they said, isn't as much about being able to throw a punch as it is being able to take one. "Being able to protect themselves is the key component here," Barry said. State Police leaders wouldn't let NBC 10 interview the recruits about taking punches. But the brass went through it when they were recruits, too, and pointed out a lot of recruits these days have probably never been in a fight before they enroll in the academy. "We want to see how they're going to react once they actually do get hit," Barry said. "Our fear is that we put somebody out on the street and that's the first time they've actually been in a physical confrontation." Addressing a question about liability concerns, Barry said, "Any time there's training like this, there's liability that goes with anything we do in law enforcement. I'm a firm believer in that that liability is mitigated by this training." He argued troopers will be better equipped to diffuse or deal with a fight when there is one, keeping their cool and keeping them from getting hurt. "As much as it is physical, it is mental," Barry said of the boxing. The current class of recruits is expected to graduate from the academy at the end of July. About half of the recruits who started the program have dropped out.
Michigan State Police Bomb Squad Remove an Old Artillery Round From a House
A woman found an artillery round while cleaning out her father's house in Traverse City, according to Traverse City Police. The artillery round is believed to be from the WWII era. The bomb was found in the 500 block of W. Ninth Street. According to the Traverse City Police Department, when they arrived on scene, officers could not determine if the 75 mm M48 artillery round was live or not. Police contacted Sgt. McNally, who is part of the Army EOD division at Camp Grayling, to help with the incident. Sgt. McNally responded to the scene and determined that the artillery round was not live. He was able to move it to the garage floor where it could be kept safely until it was picked up by the Michigan State Police Bomb Squad. Traverse City police contacted the Michigan State Police sent Sgt. Collard from the Bomb Squad to remove the artillery round. Sgt. Collard arrived around 10:30 a.m. Monday to remove and discard the artillery round. He says it was found filled with cigarette butts, and it appeared it had been used as an ashtray.
Montana Highway Patrol honors Woman Who Saved a Drunk Driver from Being hit by a train
It came down to instinct. On the night of April 7, 33-year-old Kassia Finn was driving back to her Jackson Creek home after her book club in Bozeman went long. Finn had noticed when she took the exit that a train was coming and she wanted to make sure she drove quickly so she didn’t get stuck behind it. That’s when she noticed a car stuck on the tracks. As Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Zachary Grosfield explained, the driver of that car, an intoxicated woman who had spent the night drinking in downtown Bozeman, got lost looking for her Bozeman hotel and ended up at the Jackson Creek exit off of Interstate 90 — 10 miles east of Bozeman. “She thought the railroad tracks were the road to get back to Bozeman,” Grosfield said. Finn jumped into action, getting out of her vehicle to check on the driver. The woman asked Finn for a tow rope and, through her interactions with her, Finn quickly knew the woman was intoxicated. “Lots of stumbling,” Finn said, adding the woman was confused, saying she was tired and cared. With the train bearing down, the woman then got back into her car. Finn told her to get out, but she refused, claiming she was unwilling to leave her belongings behind. But Finn pulled the woman out, and just in the nick of time. Moments later, the train struck the car, destroying it. “She was crying and I was holding on to her,” Finn said. “It was a happy ending. Hopefully it turns her life around.” On Thursday, for her actions that April night, the Montana Highway Patrol awarded Finn with the Colonel’s Citation of Meritorious Service Award, an honor given to citizens who have helped in life-threatening situations. Grosfield called Finn “a true hero in our midst.” “Because of Miss Finn’s heroic actions, nobody was hurt that day,” Grosfield said in a short ceremony at MHP’s Bozeman district headquarters. Finn said after the ceremony that it feels strange to be called a hero. “Typically, I hear ‘mom,’” said the mother of three. But she said she felt honored to receive the award in front of her husband Ryan, children Layla, Nora and Liam, friends and MHP troopers. “I wasn’t expecting that at all. It’s exciting,” she said. But mostly she was relieved. Relieved that she could help the woman, who was later charged with a misdemeanor DUI, and relieved that it was a happy ending. “Thank goodness she didn’t hurt anyone else,” Finn said.