The City of Lawrence Police Merit Commission honored three individuals during its July meeting for providing lifesaving assistance to a man trapped under a vehicle.
During the meeting, LPD Deputy Chief Gary Woodruff told the commission that on June 2, officers Tyler Morgan and Jason Heiney responded to a residence in Lawrence following a report of a person trapped under a car. Officers found the victim pinned beneath a vehicle on a sloped driveway, Woodruff said, and that person had sustained injuries.
“Officers were concerned about attempting to lift the vehicle due to the slope and risk of causing more serious injuries,” Woodruff said.
That’s when Israel Lara Ponce, a bystander, stepped in to help.
“Mr. Ponce selflessly went to the front of the vehicle where he, Officer Heiney and Officer Morgan, lifted the vehicle off of the victim,” Woodruff said. “It gave him just enough room that he was able to free himself from under the vehicle and roll away from it and receive treatment from medics.”
Woodruff also commended the officers for their actions.
“They’re going to say it was all Mr. Ponce and not them, but guaranteed it was a team effort,” he said. “They’re representative of two of our absolute best officers. Both military veterans and current and future leaders of our department.”
Police Chief Curtis Bigsbee also lauded the three men’s actions.
“It’s great when we have citizens who will go out of their way to help assist our officers, and for our officers to take immediate action,” he said. “I’m happy that we’re here tonight to recognize not only the citizen but the officers.”
All three were given certificates of appreciation. The unidentified victim was present for the recognition ceremony and thanked the three men for their help.