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Leopold Lauds Hurricane Heroes

| September 25, 2011, 11:14 AM | 0 Comments

From left to right: Corporal Daniel Pamer, Officer Mike Fraser, Sergeant Matthew Snyder, Lieutenant Steve Thomas, Officer Rocco Pugliese, Corporal Erica Heineke and Corporal Stephen Perron (Sgt. Bob Novotny not pictured).

Last week, County Executive John R. Leopold presented citations to police officers who saved lives during Hurricane Irene and its aftermath, recognizing the officers as Hurricane Heroes.

On September 8, 2011, at approximately 1:20 a.m., Lieutenant Steve Thomas and Corporal Erica Heinecke from the Western District responded to the area of Burns Crossing Road and Old Mill Road in Severn for an assist motorist call.  Dispatch advised that a vehicle was stuck in standing water on Burns Crossing Road and a 63-year-old male and a 68-year-old female were stranded with the vehicle.

Upon arrival, the officers discovered that the roadway was completely eroded and several feet of water was gushing from Old Mill Road across Burns Crossing Road. The stranded couple left their vehicle and were on the shoulder of Burns Crossing Road holding onto a guardrail for support against the rushing water.

Corporal Heinecke and Lt. Thomas tied their departmental water rescue ropes to themselves before entering the water and approaching the couple. As Lt. Thomas approached the male victim, the victim lost his footing and was submerged beneath the water, under the guardrail. Lt. Thomas, who was still tied to Corporal Heinecke via their rescue rope, was able lift the male victim out of the water just enough to allow him to breathe and held onto the victim until he received assistance from Sergeant Matthew Snyder when he arrived on scene.

Sergeant Bob Novotny, Corporal Daniel Pamer, Officer Rocco Pugliese and Officer Mike Fraser responded to the scene and were able to assist Lt. Thomas, Sergeant Snyder and Corporal Heinecke with retrieving the male and female victims from the water. Fire Department personnel transported the victims to Baltimore Washington Medical Center, where they were treated and released. The roadway was eventually washed away by the force of the water.

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