Two Missouri State employees from Troop D in southwest Missouri were among those honored at the Highway Patrol’s Awards Ceremony in Columbia, MO on April 29th.
The Patrol’s Lifesaving Award is presented to an active or retired employee who is distinguished by saving the life of another person. Eight employees accepted Lifesaving awards.
One of those was Commercial Vehicle Officer Gary W. England (Troop D). In January 2022, he was working at weigh station D4 East in Joplin, Missouri, when a traffic crash occurred just west of his location.
He notified Troop D then ran to the scene, where he found one commercial vehicle was on its side and a second semi-tractor had exploded.
One driver was stuck in the burning truck, and the fire had reached the cab area. England used three fire extinguishers he procured from vehicles involved in the crash attempting to keep the fire away from the driver while awaiting the arrival of the fire department. While he was looking for a fourth fire extinguisher, the driver was able to move a lever, free his leg, and exit the cab. The driver was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. He survived the incident.
Four troopers accepted Valor Awards. One of those was Corporal Terry A. Bible of Troop D.
In September 2022, he responded to a crash on Interstate 44 in Lawrence County.
A deputy on scene made him aware of a secondary crash involving two commercial vehicles. A man at the scene informed him a driver was stuck in the truck that was on fire. Cpl. Bible grabbed his fire extinguisher and sprinted to the burning truck.
He confirmed the driver was trapped inside with his leg pinned. The exterior and rear of the cab was on fire, so Cpl. Bible used his fire extinguisher and asked others at the scene for additional fire extinguishers.
He entered the cab of the truck and attempted to free the driver’s leg, but was unsuccessful. The flames grew stronger, but Cpl. Bible remained with the driver and worked to remove him from the burning truck. When the fire department arrived on scene, Cpl. Bible exited the cab, ran to the firetruck, and helped pull the fire hoses to the crash site to increase the speed of the response.
He also alerted the fire chief of the need for the jaws of life and secured gear from the firetruck to cover the driver to protect him from the flames.
A Lawrence County deputy arrived to assist Cpl. Bible in applying pressure to the seat as the fire chief used the jaws of life. Firefighters sprayed water onto the three men with the hope of preventing serious injuries as they worked near the ever-growing flames.
A second attempt with the jaws of life was successful, and the driver was removed from the cab for medical treatment.