Friday, May 27, 2011

Sergeant honored for saving man from burning truck

I presented Sergeant Thomas Clark with a Life-Saving Award on Tuesday, and it was well-deserved. Along with a DEA investigator (who received a Certificate of Appreciation) who stopped to help, Sergeant Clark was off-duty when he pulled a man from a burning truck just before it burst into flames.

On the night of December 23, 2010, Sergeant Thomas Clark was on his way home from an off-duty job traveling northbound on 169 Highway near the Wheeler Downtown Airport, when he saw a large orange glow. As he approached the glow, it became apparent that a white Chevrolet truck had been involved in an accident and the whole front end was on fire.

Sergeant Clark stopped and ran to the vehicle, opened the driver’s door and found the driver lying with his feet in the driver’s seat, his head on the floorboard of the passenger side, not moving, face covered in blood, and he appeared unconscious. To create distance in case of an explosion, Sergeant Clark quickly pulled the driver away from the burning truck with the assistance of DEA Agent Jon Ciarletta, who was also off-duty and who arrived shortly after Sgt. Clark.

Within moments of removing the driver to safety, the passenger compartment of the truck became fully engulfed in flames. Shortly after that the driver of the truck regained consciousness, they found out he was intoxicated.

Agent Ciarletta stayed with the driver while Sgt. Clark immediately notified the Fire Department, Ambulance and on-duty officers to handle the scene because the accident occurred within fifty yards of the Wheeler Downtown Airport aviation fuel tanks. The driver was taken to North Kansas City Hospital and was charged with careless driving and a DUI but recovered from his injuries.

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