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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