Six Independence police officers received lifesaving awards Tuesday for three separate incidents over the past year.
Officers Dustin Stewart and Rick Romero saved a man from a burning house on 23rd Street the evening of March 19. The house caught fire after Stewart used stop sticks to try stopping a fleeing suspect in a stolen vehicle, the suspect tried to swerve and lost control and the vehicle struck the natural gas line and knocked the house off its foundation. Stewart kicked in a glass door and with Romero helped the elderly man – who was on oxygen – crawl through the door. The house, like the vehicle that struck it, was fully engulfed in fire within 90 seconds.
On May 15, officers Maggie Chapman and Ian Storey rescued a suicidal male in a wooded area near U.S. 24 and River Boulevard. After being dispatched to the area, they found the subject hanging from a tree with steel wire wrapped around his neck. He was turning purple and struggling to breathe. Chapman lifted the subject enough to relieve neck tension, and Storey removed the wiring.
Officers Jason Cundiff and Ed Wisdom started CPR to help revive a female who had overdosed. Cundiff had pulled over a vehicle for speeding, and the driver said the passenger had OD'd. Cundiff ordered an ambulance, and the passenger stopped breathing and lost pulse. Cundiff and Wisdom then began CPR until medical personnel arrived. A short time later the female's pulse returned and she started breathing on her own, and she was later admitted to the hospital.