Shoshoni Police Department officer earns Life Saving Medal, paid day off after rescuing two men from vehicle fire

    Shoshoni Police Department officer Andrew O’Neill was awarded a Life Saving Medal during this week’s Shoshoni Town Council meeting.

    The award recognizes O’Neill for his response to a two-vehicle collision that took place around 6:10 p.m. Nov. 11 on U.S. Highway 20, when a northbound GMC Sierra truck “abruptly swerved into the southbound lane and was struck by a tractor-trailer head-on, pushing the GMC Sierra into the eastbound ditch.”

    When O’Neill arrived at the scene minutes later, “he found the GMC Sierra engine compartment to be on fire and spreading into the passenger compartment,” the award citation states.


    “One injured male subject was found lying on the ground near the passenger side of the vehicle, and a second injured male subject was attempting to crawl out from the passenger side, however, his leg was stuck, and he was unable to get out of the vehicle,” the citation says.

    O’Neill used a fire extinguishing device to prevent the flames from entering the cab, then he dislodged the second man’s foot, checked the vehicle for other occupants, and dragged the first man from the vehicle, “preventing further serious bodily injury or death due to fire and excessive smoke inhalation,” the citation states.

    “The time between Officer O’Neill’s arrival and the cab of the vehicle becoming fully engulfed in fire was under two minutes,” the citation says. “Additional serious bodily injury and/or death was prevented due to Officer O’Neill’s willingness to place himself in harm’s way. His quick and decisive lifesaving actions are in keeping with the highest expectations of the Town of Shoshoni, SPD, and the law enforcement community.”

    When he awarded O’Neill with the medal Tuesday evening, SPD chief Chris Konija noted that, while lifesaving actions are expected of law enforcement officers, that “doesn’t mean it isn’t something that should be acknowledged when it does occur.”


    He also asked the council for authority to grant O’Neill with a paid day off in recognition of his actions – a request that was granted.

    “(We’ll) give Officer O’Neill one paid day off because of his heroics and putting his own life at risk to save another,” Mayor Joel Highsmith said.

    For more information, call the Town of Shoshoni at 876-2515.


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