Regional Jail employee recognized for helping man trapped in crash

Posted: March 19, 2014

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — An officer from the local jail was nominated recently for a lifesaving award after assisting a man trapped in his vehicle following a crash in February.

Lt. E.S. Sturdivant at the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center nominated Officer Alan Crouse for the internal jail award — which recognizes staff who demonstrate exemplary performance in response to a life-threatening situation.

Crouse, who has been with the jail since January 2007, works in the Community Corrections Division. He and other officers supervise inmates who are assigned to work release, the community inmate workforce program and the offender re-entry program.

On his way to work Feb. 20, Crouse reportedly saw headlights shining up, into a tree line, as he was traveling south on U.S. 522, just outside Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

While other vehicles in front of him continued on without slowing, Crouse stopped and discovered a pickup truck over a nearby embankment.

He called 911 and reported the accident and checked to see if anyone was in the truck. As he approached the vehicle, he reportedly saw that the driver was trapped inside.

Crouse could not get into the vehicle and the driver allegedly told him he felt like he was having a heart attack.

It took about 15 minutes for help to arrive, but Crouse was able to keep the man calm and relay important medical information to a 911 dispatcher.

He monitored the victim until emergency medical services arrived and was able to cut him out of the truck, according to a letter Sturdivant wrote in nominating Crouse.

“The actions of Officer Crouse were paramount in saving this accident victim,” he states in the letter. “Had Officer Crouse simply driven by the accident as did the others it is conceivable that the accident would not have been discovered for some time and the outcome for the driver could have turned out much differently.”

Sturdivant added that although the incident did not take place while Crouse was working at the jail, “he was clearly representing our facility by his quick and decisive actions in assisting with this situation.”

Capt. C. Corbin said Tuesday that as a lieutenant, he supervised Crouse for a period of time.

“From this experience I can say that he possesses an excellent work ethic, he is of exceptional character and always utilizes a teamwork approach when working with fellow staff members,” he said. “As a supervisor you respect and admire these qualities in an officer, such as Mr. Crouse, for the significant impact they have on the organization.”

Jail Superintendent James Whitley did not say if Crouse was going to win the award, but added that he would be recognized internally for “a great job” responding to the crash.

— Contact Melissa Boughton at mboughton@winchesterstar.com