On May 11th, 2016 Sheriff Mark Garton had the honor to present two lifesaving awards and a Certificate of Merit to members of the Lincoln County and Polk County Sheriff Offices’. The incident stemmed from a motor vehicle crash on March 2nd, 2016 at about 9:30 AM. Lincoln County Deputy Eric Larson and Support Services Specialist Shelby Baker were traveling from Lincoln County to Monmouth Oregon on Highway 223, south of Dallas. While near McTimmonds Cr. Rd, they observed an oncoming vehicle leave the shoulder of the roadway and collide with some trees.
The crashed vehicle immediately began smoking. Deputy Larson was joined by Polk County Reserve Deputy Eric Berry, who was also passing through the area. Fire and medical assistance were called, but the vehicle caught fire and immediate action was required. Deputy Larson and Deputy Berry discovered the vehicle damage and debris from the crash prevented quick access to the car, but they were able to force the door open with their hands and pull the driver, the sole occupant, to safety.
Immediately after the deputies removed the driver from the car the vehicle became engulfed in flames and two minutes later there was an explosion inside the vehicle. The driver of the car was Jon Carey, of Monmouth.
Because of the actions of Deputy Eric Larson and Reserve Deputy Eric Berry they were both presented with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office lifesaving awards during a Polk County Board of Commissioners meeting at the courthouse. A Certificate of Merit was also given to Shelby Baker for her actions during the rescue. Commissioner Jennifer Wheeler, along with Commissioners Ainsworth and Pope presented Eric with the Board of Commissioners Letter of Commendation because when the rescue occurred Eric Berry was working in the capacity of Polk County Surveyor.
The driver, Jon Carey was in attendance with his family during the awards presentation and said some brief remarks regarding the crash. While still in a wheel chair and recovering from his injuries from just over 2 months ago, he was very gracious and thankful for the actions of his rescuers and truly believed that they were meant to be in that exact place at that specific time and without them he would have died.
Listed below is the type of award each recipient received along with the inscription that is displayed on each of their awards.
Certificate of Merit Presented to Shelby Baker
Because of your assistance on March 2nd, 2016 while on scene of a motor vehicle crash on Highway 223 in Polk County the life of the driver, Jon Carey was saved and allowed to return to his family that day.
Life Saving Award Presented to Deputy Eric Larson
Deputy Larson, on March 2nd, 2016 you engaged in the life saving rescue of Polk County resident Jon Carey who was involved in a motor vehicle crash in rural Polk County. If it were not for your attentiveness and distinct actions at the scene by removing Mr. Carey who was seriously injured and trapped inside his car as it began to erupt in flames, he would have perished. The value of human life is unmeasurable and your actions that day allowed Mr. Carey to return to his family.
Deputy Berry, on March 2nd, 2016 you engaged in the life saving rescue of Polk County resident Jon Carey who was involved in a motor vehicle crash in rural Polk County. Even though you were not on duty as a deputy, you still responded to help as you were nearby. If it were not for your decisive and swift actions at the scene by removing Mr. Carey who was seriously injured and trapped inside the car as it began to erupt in flames, he would have perished. The value of human life is unmeasurable and your actions that day allowed Mr. Carey to return to his family that day.
Board of Commissioners’ Letter of Commendation Presented to Eric Berry, County Surveyor
WHEREAS, Eric Berry, is the County Surveyor and a member of the Sheriff’s Department Reserve Deputies; and
WHEREAS, Eric Berry, on March 2, 2016, responded quickly to the scene of a motor vehicle accident and executed the rescue of Mr. John Carey who was trapped in his vehicle, which caught fire; and
WHEREAS, Eric Berry’s willingness to promptly respond and take alert action, without regard of personal safety, which resulted in the saving of a life, is heroic and indicative of his high moral character; now therefore
BE IT RESOLVED that the Polk County Board of Commissioners recognizes and commends Eric Berry for his life saving actions.
Dated this 11th day of May, 2016
POLK COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
Jennifer Wheeler, Chair Mike Ainsworth Craig Pope