DPS Heroes Recognized at Public Safety Commission Meeting
AUSTIN Ė The Texas Public Safety Commission (PSC) and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw today presented a Purple Heart to a DPS trooper and Life Saving Awards to several officers for their valiant efforts. Trooper Max Honesto received a Purple Heart after being shot in a traffic stop last year in Ector County. The other officers at the Public Safety Commission meeting were recognized for helping to save someoneís life.
"Each of the individuals honored today is a hero in their own right, distinguishing themselves in extraordinary fashion with their courage and selfless service to others," said Director McCraw. "Trooper Honesto survived a roadside shooting and we are proud to have him back at work protecting the citizens of Texas. Our other recipients acted instinctively and used their training to save the lives of others. In one incident, a DPS captain received a second chance at life when three of his fellow DPS officers performed CPR on him."
The following awards were presented today:
Trooper Max Honesto, Highway Patrol in Pampa, received a Purple Heart for injuries suffered in a May 2011 roadside incident. Trooper Honesto was patrolling I-20 in Ector County when he stopped a vehicle for speeding. He learned that the driver was recently released from prison and noticed the smell of marijuana from inside the vehicle. When a passenger was asked to remove something from his shoe, he instead pulled a pistol from his pocket and pointed it at the trooper. The two men exchanged gunfire; the suspect was struck in the leg and Honesto sustained a wound to his right shoulder. As a result of the gunshot, Trooper Honesto sustained muscle and nerve damage to his right shoulder. He has since returned to full active duty.
Three DPS officers received Life Saving Awards for performing CPR on a fellow DPS officer who collapsed during an exercise session in September of 2012. The DPS captain, stationed in Austin, did not have a pulse and was not breathing. Without hesitation, Assistant Director Tom Ruocco (Criminal Investigations Division), Deputy Assistant Director Greg Gloria (Leadership and Operational Review Unit) and Sgt. Greg Davis (Training) began performing CPR until EMS personnel arrived. Ultimately, an external defibrillator shock was needed to restore the victimís breathing and heart functions. Witnesses to this event stated that there was no doubt that the efforts of the three DPS officers helped save the captainís life.
Trooper Jonathan "Shane" Lawrence, Highway Patrol in Atlanta, received a Life Saving Award for administering first aid to a car crash victim in May of 2012. Trooper Lawrence was returning to his duty station after attending in-service training in Florence when he drove upon a one-vehicle, rollover collision. The victimís left arm was severed below the elbow and he was bleeding profusely. Lawrence fashioned a tourniquet with a shirt from the vehicle and was able to stop the bleeding until EMS personnel arrived on the scene.
Trooper Jeffrey Wachtendorf, Highway Patrol in Waco, received a Life Saving Award for helping a choking victim at a restaurant in June of 2012. Trooper Wachtendorf was eating lunch when he observed a young woman unsuccessfully performing the Heimlich maneuver on a 17-year-old man. Another restaurant patron intervened, but his efforts were also ultimately unsuccessful and the victim was again unable to breathe. Trooper Wachtendorf applied the Heimlich maneuver three times and was eventually able to completely dislodge the food from the victimís airway.
Sgt. Michael Nix, Highway Patrol in Austin, and Cameron Police Department Officer Jason Lantz both received awards for assisting a woman who had a seizure in April of 2012. Sgt. Nix was going home at the end of his shift and noticed a Cameron Police Department patrol unit responding to an emergency call with its lights and siren activated, and Sgt. Nix went to assist. Once inside the residence, the officers found an unconscious woman without a pulse. They immediately began CPR and continued for several minutes until paramedics arrived. After the arrival of the paramedics, Sgt. Nix continued to give chest compressions for 20-30 minutes while the paramedics rendered aid. Their efforts restored the victimís heartbeat, which allowed medical personnel to transport her to a local hospital via helicopter. Sgt. Nix received a Life Saving Award and Officer Lantz received a Directorís Award for their actions.