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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor

For Immediate Release
Officers Honored With Life Saving Award
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View Civilian Award Winners

February 14, 2007 - Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Police Chief Sterling Owen awarded the department's Life Saving Award to Officer Josh Hurst, Officer Brandon Glover, and Officer Eric Heitz. Officer Hurst has been with the department since November 2003. Officer Glover has been an officer for KPD since October 2004 while Officer Heitz has been with the department since May 2005.

Chief Owen said that on December 19, 2006, at approximately 8:48 p.m., Officer Hurst was on routine patrol when he was almost struck head-on by a vehicle at the intersection of Magnolia Avenue and Spruce Street. Officer Hurst reacted immediately and attempted to initiate a traffic stop on the vehicle at Magnolia and Cherry Street. The vehicle continued traveling east on Magnolia and then turned south on Harrison Street at which time it appeared the vehicle was stopping.

Mayor Haslam, Honored Officers, Chief OwenChief Owen said, "As the vehicle slowed Officer Hurst noticed the driver reaching underneath the seat. As a result of this action, Officer Hurst requested backup."

The vehicle never came to a complete stop and it appeared the driver was attempting to flee. Due to the safety concern of the citizens in the area, Officer Hurst decided not to pursue the fleeing car. Just as the vehicle was about to drive out of sight, Officer Hurst noticed a flash of light coming from the interior of the suspect's vehicle and then a large flame erupt.

Chief Owen said, "As the vehicle continued down Harrison the fire became larger with smoke filling the interior of the car. Due to the extreme danger this posed for the driver and the citizens, Officer Hurst re-engaged in his pursuit."

As the vehicle turned on Lay Avenue the driver lost control of his vehicle and drove into a yard. Officers Glover and Heitz, responding to the call for bake-up, arrived on the scene just as the car crashed into the yard. The passenger compartment was fully engulfed in flames. All three officers worked to free the driver from the car by breaking out the windows. Once the front window was broken, the officers were able to reach in and pull the driver from the fire.

The driver suffered burns to his head, face, and hands along with smoke inhalation. The driver was transported to UT Medical Center where he was admitted due to the severity of his injuries. After interviewing the driver it was determined the driver had accidentally dropped a cigarette onto the floorboard, which in turn ignited a quantity of kerosene. The kerosene caused the fire to spread quickly inside the passenger compartment of the vehicle.

Chief Owen said, "When confronted with a highly unusual set of circumstances, these three officers remained calm, professional, and acted quickly to an ever-worsening situation. They placed their own lives and safety in jeopardy in order to save the life of this motorists."

Mayor Haslam said, "Had these officers not acted quickly and decisively, most assuredly this citizen would have perished. We commend them on a job well done."

The officers will receive a signed certificate from the Mayor and Chief along with a free dinner from Bayou Bay Seafood House.

For Immediate Release
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