Two Saratoga County sheriff’s deputies and two civilians were recognized by county supervisors Tuesday for their heroic actions after a flaming car drove into a Clifton Park pond in August.
Deputies Jonathan S. Grady and Jeffrey O’Connor were presented with the Lifesaving Award by Sheriff Michael H. Zurlo. Two passersby, recent Siena College graduate Adam Myers of Milton and Michael Campenella of Clifton Park, were also recognized for heroism at the county Board of Supervisors’ monthly meeting in Ballston Spa.
The two men removed the driver after the burning car went into Murphy’s Pond off Barney Road on Aug. 8 at about 8:15 p.m. The victim, whom authorities said was attempting suicide, died 16 days later in the burn unit at a Westchester County hospital.
“You didn’t ask to be put in that situation, but you reacted in a calm and thoughtful way to the situation,” Clifton Park town Supervisor Philip C. Barrett told the men.
Myers, a soccer goalie at Siena who graduated in May, had just finished a round of golf at the town-owned Barney Road course when he saw a car in flames go through the parking lot and into the pond.
“All I could think of was sprinting as fast as I can to that car,” Myers said shortly afterward.
As Barrett recounted the incident, Myers and Campenella pulled the burning driver from the car, which had gasoline cans inside, and attempted to extinguish flames on his body with mud.
When Grady and O’Connor arrived in response to a 911 call, they said they found the victim re-entering the water and trying to return to the car, which continued to burn. When the man refused to obey their commands, they had Vischer Ferry volunteer firefighters on the scene direct a hose at him to push him away from the car. Grady and O’Connor then entered the water, restrained the man and returned him to shore.
Grady suffered a fractured hand in the incident, Zurlo said.
Zurlo said the life-saving award is presented to deputies who through prompt action or disregard for personal safety save or prolong a life.
“The unfortunate fact that the victim in this incident later died from his injuries in no way diminishes the heroic actions of these two deputies,” Zurlo said in a statement.
“Deputies Grade and O’Connor are just two examples of the great work performed by members of this Sheriff’s Office and all law enforcement throughout the country on a daily basis,” Zurlo said.
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Categories: News, Schenectady County