HUDSON — A Pasco sheriff's mechanic who showed up to impound a car ended up saving a deputy's life — and was recently given the agency's Lifesaving Award for his actions.
DUI suspect Brittany Miles escaped May 10 from a patrol cruiser and fled in her truck with Deputy Ashley Grady clinging to the driver's side door, trying to remove the truck's keys, authorities said. Miles pried Grady's hands from the truck, sending her tumbling on to the middle of the southbound lanes of U.S. 19. Grady had a fractured leg and cuts on her head.
Timothy Moore, a mechanic who arrived at the scene with the agency's tow truck, saw Grady lying in the highway. He ran onto U.S. 19 and stopped traffic to prevent Grady from being run over. He also flagged down a passing ambulance crew, which stopped to begin emergency treatment of the deputy.
Miles' escape led to one death that day: She collided with motorcyclist Henry F. McCain as she sped into Hernando County, authorities say.
Moore's quick actions that day prevented further injury and perhaps death to another person, said the Sheriff's Office, which honored him last week with a Lifesaving Award.
Others honored at the agency's quarterly awards ceremony include:
• Lifesaving Award to Deputy Robert Wilkins and his canine partner, Copper, for finding an elderly, suicidal woman lost in the woods in Dade City. The woman could not move and was barely breathing when she was found more than 13 hours after she'd left home.
• Lifesaving Award to Detectives Dennis Nottoli and Patrick Moccaldi for forcing open a closet door and cutting down a man who attempted to hang himself after the two detectives showed up to serve an arrest warrant. The detectives performed first aid.
• Lifesaving Award to Deputies Shawn Rozankowski, Wayne Boekeloo, Cliff Baltzer and Joseph Liddick for talking a suicidal man in Hudson down off a ladder, where the man had tied a rope around his neck, planning to jump and kill himself.
• Lifesaving Award to jail nurses Melanie Martinez, Giovani Gomez and Mary Komer for their efforts to save the life of an inmate housed in the alcohol detox ward in April. The inmate, Brian K. Lavalley, 45, of Lutz, who was incarcerated on a charge of aggravated stalking, later died at a local hospital. Pasco Sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said the agency is still waiting on autopsy and toxicology results for an official cause of death.
• Lifesaving Award to Deputy Michael Szeliga, who found a woman on the floor of her home while performing a welfare check after the woman did not show up for her kidney dialysis appointment. Szeliga talked with neighbors, climbed over shrubs and, after seeing the woman through a window, kicked down her door.
• Lifesaving Award to Cpl. Jay Galassi, who climbed a ladder and removed a rope tied around a suicidal woman's neck.
• Lifesaving Award to Sgt. Daniel Prybyzerski and Cpl. Kimberly Davis, who saved the life of a female inmate at the jail who tried to hang herself.
• Lifesaving Award to Deputies Tedd Clegg and Greg Ruvelas and Cpl. Paul Downey for saving a man who had a heart attack while swimming.
• Meritorious Service Medal for Accomplishment to Deputy Austin Douglas, who worked with state and local agencies to draft a gang identification manual, which is now used throughout the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
• Meritorious Service Medal for Accomplishment to Rebecca Beebe for her 30-year-career with the agency, beginning as secretary and then working her way to director of crime analysis.
• Meritorious Service Medal for Courage to Deputy George Tomberlin, who entered the home of a man threatening to shoot himself and any law enforcement officers who tried to stop him. Tomberlin was able to get the man's gun.
• Citizen's Service Award to George Cordova and Cynthia and Corrisa Doig for rescuing three people inside a crashed vehicle that smelled of gasoline.
• Citizen's Service Award to Gail Cooper of Parwick Kennels for her support and service to the Sheriff's Office K-9 unit. Cooper raises money for the unit, as well as boarding the dogs for free at her kennel.
• Employee Incentive Award to Audrey Affissio, a licensed practical nurse at the Pasco jail, for assisting a deputy in during a struggle with an inmate.
• Employee Incentive Award to Cpl. James Toner, who works gang intelligence at the jail. During 2010, Toner assisted with 184 cases and conducted more than 118 criminal and administrative cases — and is on pace this year to surpass those numbers.
• Employee Incentive Award to Cpl. Mary Guyer, for her work improving community and law enforcement relations as Officer Friendly in the Dade City area.