Oberle Elementary thanks state troopers with giant heart formation
Students and staff members at Oberle Elementary School in Bear gathered in the school parking lot on Monday to form a heart shape and say "thank you" to Delaware State Police troopers. The ceremony was part of a statewide outpouring of support in honor of Cpl. Stephen J. Ballard, who was killed in the line of duty last week. After the students arranged themselves in the shape of a heart, a teacher used a drone to photograph the formation from above. Students later delivered video from the event and handmade cards to troopers at Troop 2. Oberle is the second Christina School District school to pay tribute to Ballard. Last week, 600 Keene Elementary students walked to Troop 2 to lay flowers and thank troopers.
Off-duty trooper, good Samaritan receive special Highway Patrol awards
The fiery car crash in Bath back in February could've killed as many as 10 people. That wreck could've easily turned tragic had it not been for the quick thinking of an off-duty South Dakota Highway Patrol trooper and a passing motorist. Today, they were honored for their lifesaving, split-second decisions. Highway Trooper Cortney Paul received the Superintendent's Award after her efforts with the car crash. "It was me doing my job. I was trained for this. This is who I am and this is what I do," says Trooper Paul. The nomination goes through a special awards committee in the Highway Patrol. "They hear all of the award nominations and then they recommend the actual award. Then, it's approved by the superintendent of the Highway Patrol," explains Major Rick Miller with the Highway Patrol. It's an award that is given out to troopers for their efforts, but the honor is still present. Trooper Paul appreciates the fact that the community gets to see the two getting presented with the award to help them celebrate everyone surviving. Good Samaritan Justin Dirksen was given the Life-Saving Award, which has the same process at Trooper's Paul. This type of award is the highest award given to civilians. Dirksen didn't think the award was really necessary because he thought his actions weren't anything out-of-the-ordinary. Having the ability to chat with the six teenagers was one way to bring closure to the whole incident. "It's good to see them progressing, moving on with their lives, becoming the young ladies that they are. It's really fortunate to know that they'll attend graduation and move on with their lives," explains Trooper Paul. "It's nice to finally meet them all. It was an interesting night, so I didn't get to know all of them or even know their names at that point. It's nice to meet them and know they're fine and that they're going to turn out okay," says Dirksen. The teenage survivors continue to heal from wounds both seen, and unseen, and say they remain thankful for the support they've seen from everyone in the Aberdeen community.
Utah Highway Patrol K9 sniffs out 50 pounds of meth hidden beneath trap doors
Troopers assisted by a K9 located 50 pounds of methamphetamine hidden beneath two trap doors inside a car after a traffic stop near the Utah/Arizona border Tuesday. According to a press release from the Utah Highway Patrol, a trooper stopped a 2010 Ford Taurus travelling northbound on I-15 near mile post 2 around 4:30 p.m. and called for a K9 trooper after the initial investigation. The K9 indicated the presence of drugs, and a further search revealed two trap doors--one each under the driver's and front passenger seats. Once the trap doors were opened, troopers located 42 brick-shaped packages wrapped in plastic that contained 50 pounds of methamphetamine. “How much they’re exactly producing? I don’t know, but we’re seeing more of it on the roads,” said Capt. Tyler Kotter with the State Bureau of Investigation. Police arrested the driver, 27-year-old Rudy Ramirez of Las Vegas, and booked him into the Washington County Jail. Booking records indicate he faces charges for drug distribution, possession of drug paraphernalia, and using a vehicle with a contraband compartment. Kotter said arrests like these do more to combat the spread of drugs than simply remove a single load from the supply. “I think it sends a message to those organizations that are involved in this activity to say we are looking for this and it’s not acceptable to have that going through our state,” Kotter said. Police believe the drugs originated in California and were being taken to the upper mid-west.
Officers begin new campaign to stop aggressive drivers after string of fatal wrecks
Officers announced a new campaign Wednesday to target aggressive drivers in the area after a string of fatal wrecks in Horry County. Patrolmen from the South Carolina Highway Patrol, Myrtle Beach Police Department and Horry County Police Department will be out in force looking for aggressive drivers to “target zero traffic deaths” this weekend. “Beginning tomorrow, motorists will see more blue lights as an enhanced enforcement begins in an effort to stop aggressive driving,” Major Melvin Warren of the Highway Patrol said at a press conference Wednesday. “Our target zero goal is to reduce fatalities and collisions on our states and roadways caused by aggressive and careless driving behaviors.” Twelve people have died in fatal collisions throughout the county so far this year, according to the S.C. Department of Public Safety. “Many drivers, whether they are local or traveling through our state all seem to have one thing in common. They are in a hurry,” Warren said. “They are too often making bad choices behind the wheel that have deadly consequences.” Officers from local agencies will focus on aggressive and distracted driving behaviors “that put us all in harm’s way,” he said. During the three-day blitz, patrolmen will keep a close eye on heavily traveled roadways, including the U.S. 17 and U.S. 501 corridors. “Our goal is to stop aggressive driving so we can stop the tragedy of highway fatalities,” said Lt. Greg Caulder of the Highway Patrol. “Last year, 70 people died on Horry County roadways.” “We need every driver to first take an inventory of their own behaviors behind the wheel such as slowing down, of course buckling up, leaving more space, signaling when you make a lane change and please don’t pick a fight with the driver who cuts you off. In short, get back to the basics of courteous driving,” Caulder said. “Our goal is to use proactive enforcement with an eye towards changing driving behavior in ultimately reducing traffic deaths,” said Capt. Gil Owens, who leads the statewide target zero team with the Highway Patrol. “We need every motorist to join us.” The city of Myrtle Beach has had two fatal wrecks so far this year, said Myrtle Beach police Chief Warren Gall, adding that his team looks forward to working with troopers to target zero deaths this weekend. The Horry County Police Department is dedicating 18 officers to the initiative this weekend, said HCPD Chief Deputy Lance Winburn. “We look forward to this opportunity, hoping it will make a difference in our community.”