Two officers receive Life Saving Awards

Friday, August 25, 2017
Pictured, from left, are: State Rep. Dwight Tosh, Marked Tree Police Chief Michael Matlock, Life Saving Award recipient Officer Tommy Hampton, and State Senator Dave Wallace. (DT Photo/Corey Clairday)

A Poinsett County Sheriff's deputy and a Marked Tree Police officer both received Life Saving Awards during a ceremony at the sheriff's office Tuesday afternoon. Sheriff Kevin Molder and Marked Tree Police Chief Michael Matlock presented the awards to Deputy E.J. Roach and Officer Tommy Hampton for their actions responding to a one-car rollover on July 27.

According to Sheriff Molder, Deputy Roach was responding to a call on July 27 when he noticed the rollover on I-555 at the Marked Tree exit. Officer Hampton was already on the scene putting a young child in the back of his vehicle, and Hampton told Roach there was still a woman in the overturned vehicle. While they were attending to the woman, who was unresponsive, they noticed another child pinned under. "The child's head was out of the window and lodged under the roof of the vehicle in the water and mud," Molder said. "The mud and water were keeping the child from breathing. Deputy Roach, Officer Hampton, Zachary Sullivan, and a Marked Tree firefighter lifted the car enough to free the child's head from the water and mud so he could breathe."

They held the car until additional firefighters and EMS personnel arrived to roll the vehicle off the child. After the vechicle was flipped, Deputy Roach and EMT James Roach, his brother, kept the unresponsive woman's airway open and made sure her weight was off the child while the Marked Tree Fire Department used the Jaws of Life to remove the door.

Pictured, from left, are: Sheriff Kevin Molder, State Rep. Dwight Tosh, Life Saving Award recipient Deputy E.J. Roach, and State Senator Dave Wallace. (DT Photo/Corey Clairday)

Sheriff Molder said his response to what Deputy Roach, Officer Hampton, and the others did was that "it didn't surprise me because all our deputies have always gone above and beyond. I'm sure Chief Matlock can say the same."

Chief Matlock said he worked with Officer Hampton in Hughes, Ark., in 2013 and that Hampton was one of the first people he called when he was made chief of the MTPD. "There are two types of police officers, the ones that choose to be police officers and the ones that are called to be police officers. The ones that are called have a ministry, and that's a ministry directly from God," Chief Matlock said, adding that Officer Hampton always put his all into his work.

Marked Tree Mayor Mary Ann Arnold also presented an award to Officer Hampton, saying she was "very proud of both these guys because I've had them both with me in Marked Tree."

State Senator Dave Wallace and Representative Dwight Tosh also presented the men with citations from the Arkansas House and Senate.

Elizabeth West, who was the woman in the car, said she has known Officer Hampton since she was 12 years old and couldn't imagine what was going through his head during the incident. She also recently found out she is pregnant, meaning four lives total were saved that day. "What you do is selfless," West said. "In the controversial world we live in, I don't know how you continue to put on your uniforms every day, but I hope you continue to for many years to come."

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