Deputy Saves Man Trapped in Burning Car

Please tell this officer’s story of how they saved a life or showed exemplary service in the field. Including why this officer should receive a RISE Award.

The mission statement of the Lenawee County Sheriff's Office is "We RISE as one team to ensure professional services to our community through leadership and accountability." RISE stands for our core values of Respect, Integrity, Service and Excellence.

On September 8th, 2022 Deputy William Warner was handling an incident in Medina Twp when he received information from a Sheriff's Office Detective that 2 subjects with felony warrants were in his area and to watch out for them and their vehicle. Deputy Warner located the vehicle and attempted to make a traffic stop on that vehicle. The driver of the vehicle fled on foot after pulling into a driveway, and Deputy Warner remained with the passenger. Deputy Warner attempted to identify the passenger several times, but remained professional and courteous with him. The passenger eventually moved to the driver's seat, started the vehicle, and fled through a field in the vehicle. Deputy Warner attempted to followed the vehicle but had difficulty due to the conditions of the dirt road at the time. After only a short time, the fleeing vehicle struck another vehicle in the roadway and overturned into a creek. Deputy Warner assessed the situation, noticed the driver was pinned inside the vehicle and immediately called for medical personnel to respond.

As Deputy Warner approached the vehicle, which was on the embankment of the stream, it became fully engulfed in fire. Deputy Warner, put himself at great risk and danger by rushing to the vehicle without hesitation. Deputy Warner became submerged in the stream for a brief moment but continued to work to free the driver. Deputy Warner struggled to free the driver for over a minute and a half. During this time, the vehicle was fully engulfed in fire and the heat was almost unbearable. As the subject was freed from the vehicle, it was apparent that his clothes were on fire. Deputy Warner was able to free the entrapped driver and move him to the river to put out the fire on his clothing. Deputy Warner then moved the driver further away from the vehicle in the event the vehicle fire spread or worsened. Deputy Warner remained with the driver, continuing to drag him further and further away from the burning vehicle, until medical personnel arrived on scene. In the course of this event, Deputy Warner himself suffered a medical emergency requiring transport to a hospital by air ambulance. Deputy Warner refused medical aid to himself until the driver was tended to who was also transported to the hospital by helicopter.

Deputy Warner's actions were exceptionally meritorious and he showed exemplary courage. Deputy Warner put himself at great risk and danger to rescue the trapped driver. Deputy Warner's actions saved the life of the driver. Had he not acted the way he did the driver would not have been able to free himself and would not have survived the burning vehicle. The driver was assessed by medical personnel while he was alert and conscious.

Deputy Warner's actions bring great credit to himself, The Lenawee County Sheriff's Office and the citizens of Lenawee County.