Nacogdoches PD officer gets valor award for rescuing suspect from fiery crash

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches Police officer has been honored with a statewide award for bravery for risking his life to rescue a wanted man from a fiery crash in May 2012.

According to Sgt. Greg Sowell, a spokesman for the Nacogdoches Police Department, was notified earlier this week that Officer John Allen had been selected for the Texas Law Enforcement Achievement Award for Valor. The award was approved by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education's Board of Commissioners on March 21.

"Officer Allen's continued search for the suspect and quick actions kept the suspect from perishing," a report posted on the TCLEOSE Website stated. "It is for placing his life in serious danger to save another person that Officer John Allen is awarded the State of Texas Achievement Award for Valor."

Allen was nominated for the ward in June 2012. The award was in connection to an incident that occurred on May 31, 2012.

On that day, Allen was among the NPD officers pursuing a shoplifting suspect who fled from a grocery store and headed to a neighborhood in south Nacogdoches. When Allen reached the bottom of a hill at East Seale Street and Press Road, he came upon the suspect's wrecked Chevrolet HHR.

The dash cam in Allen's patrol car caught the dramatic rescue that followed. After the high-speed crash, the vehicle was mangled and smoking.

A man later identified as Douglass volunteer firefighter named Adrian Nichols could be seen on the video attending to the seriously injured suspect. Later in the recording, the driver told officers his name is Michael Arnold.

After Allen radioed dispatch for an ambulance and a fire crew, Allen and Nichols tried to pull Arnold from the mangled HHR through the passenger door. Heavy smoke could be seen pouring into the interior of the vehicle. By then, the engine had caught fire, and the flames were spreading into the lower dash area.

On the video Arnold could be heard moaning in pain as he tried to free himself. Finally, Allen and Nichols managed to drag the injured man over the driver's seat and through the passenger door.

Even though the other people who arrived on the scene tried to use fire extinguishers to put out the flames, they quickly spread, and the whole vehicle burst into flames.

Arnold was carried out of the frame in the video and was instructed to stay on the ground until an ambulance arrived. A man's voice, presumably Allen's, could be heard telling Arnold that he had broken bones.

After Allen was nominated for the award in June 2012, the NPD issued this statement about the rescue: "Had Officer Allen not continued to search for the suspect and once finding him, had he not taken the selfless action he took, the driver would have perished within a few short minutes of the accident. Officer Allen's and Mr. Nichols' actions demonstrate their character and their commitment as public servants. Both placed their life in great danger to save another person and both are assets to the Nacogdoches community."

The award will be presented to Allen at a ceremony at the Texas Capitol in Austin on June 13th.

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