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CHP officers honored for heroic, life-saving acts: Roadshow


Today’s column breaks the normal Q&A format to thank state emergency officials who saved lives through heroic actions.

Here are the stories of CHP officers presented with the Governor’s State Employee Gold Medal of Valor Award. It honors employees’ extraordinary acts of heroism to save community members, at great risk to the officers’ own lives.

CHP Officer Verna Mondell was working a commercial vehicle strike detail on March 26, 2020 at a scale facility on Interstate 80 in Citrus Heights. A pickup truck crashed into a tractor-trailer 500 feet from the facility and burst into flames. The pickup door could not be opened so Officer Mondell tried to pull the unconscious driver through a window, but his legs were trapped. She leaned into the burning vehicle, grabbed the driver’s waistband and shoulder, and pulled him to safety.

Lieutenant Michael Berry, Sergeant Jeff Edgerton, and Officers Jeff Hatcher, Erik Mallory, Eric Pohrman, Steve Weyand, and Jonathan Wion of the CHP Northern Division Air Operations Unit responded to a private plane crash at Benton Airpark in Redding on August 27, 2020.

Sergeant Edgerton saw the plane attempting to take off and alerted others that the aircraft was about to crash. The officers rushed to the wreckage, down a steep embankment. They fought the heat and flames and moved two passengers to safety. Two others were trapped and died. Despite the team’s efforts, the rescued passengers succumbed several weeks later to their injuries.

Sergeant Patrick Bourassa was pursuing a high-speed driver on Interstate 5 in the Oceanside area on February 20, 2021. A spike strip flattened two of the driver’s tires, but he continued to evade officers at speeds of up to 100 mph. The driver ultimately lost control, the vehicle overturned and stopped 150 feet down a steep embankment.

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Officers found the car on fire, on its side, the driver trapped. When the windshield could not be broken, Sergeant Bourassa climbed onto the side of the vehicle. Helped by another officer, he pulled the driver’s side door open, cut away the airbag, pulled the driver out and provided first aid, saving his life.

Two officers assigned to CHP’s …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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