Bronze and Silver Medals of Valor - Southan; Lloyd; Merkel; Mazzei

Lloyd, David
Lieutenant David S. Lloyd
Silver Medal of Valor
Police Officer Of the Year
Merkel, George
Police Officer First Class George A. Merkel, Jr.
Silver Medal of Valor
Police Officer Of the Year
Mazzei, Jr. Paul
Police Officer First Class Paul M. Mazzei, Jr.
Silver Medal of Valor
Police Officer of the Year
Southan, Eric
Corporal Eric B. Southan
Bronze Medal of Valor

On December 7, 2009 at 3:30 p.m., Police Officers First Class George Merkel, Jr. and Paul Mazzei, Jr. responded to an accident with injuries at Adelphi Road and Campus Drive. Upon arrival, they observed a Ford Taurus, which had crashed into the back of a delivery truck. When the officers approached, they heard the car’s engine revving but the vehicle was not moving because it was caught on the truck’s lift gate. The driver, who was unresponsive, had his foot on the accelerator and was trapped inside.

Realizing the extreme danger, officers had to make a move, even though they risked being crushed if the car broke free.  Officers Mazzei and Merkel tried to enter the car, but the doors would not open.  The tires on the vehicle began to spin even faster as chunks of rubber began to peel away and shoot towards the officers like projectiles. Officer Mazzei reached through the broken window and engaged the emergency brake with his ASP baton, in an effort to slow the vehicle should it break free.

Lieutenant David Lloyd arrived on scene and the three officers continued trying to remove the driver. By this time, the tires had deteriorated to the point where the metal rims were in contact with the asphalt and shooting sparks which ignited leaking engine fluids. The fire quickly spread to the interior of the car. The driver’s life was now in imminent danger.

Officer Merkel quickly evacuated all vehicles and pedestrians from the area. Corporal Southan arrived on the scene, as Officer Mazzei and Lieutenant Lloyd ripped the car door off its hinges. Mazzei, Southan and Lloyd Pulled the driver to safety just as the interior of the car was consumed in flames.  The driver was then transported to a hospital where it was determined he suffered a diabetic emergency.

As a direct result of the officers’ heroic actions and willingness to place themselves in extreme danger, during this potentially explosive situation, the trapped motorist was safely rescued from the burning vehicle.

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