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Miami cop bags award after highway rescue

Miami Herald Staff Report

The Miami-Dade Police Department awarded Detective Sgt. Alan Jenkins the departmental Silver Medal of Valor and Lifesaving awards and named him Distinguished Officer of the Month for December.

The 10-year veteran, who is currently assigned to the Northside District, was honored for his courageous actions that prevented serious injury or death during a gripping traffic emergency on Dec. 25, 2004 involving an elderly couple.

According to a statement from the department, Jenkins noticed a Jeep Cherokee sport utility vehicle swerving erratically from lane to lane at about 45 miles per hour. He pulled up behind the SUV and could see the elderly male driver was unconscious and the elderly female passenger was trying to maintain control from the passenger's seat. The statement did not name the couple.

Jenkins called for backup and activated his emergency equipment. Anticipating a serious accident was imminent, he positioned his police vehicle behind the SUV and began to drive from side to side and lane to lane in an attempt to keep other vehicles from trying to pass the Jeep.

The SUV suddenly swerved toward the center wall of the Palmetto Expressway and, fearing it would crash and cause serious injury or death to the occupants, Jenkins determined his only course of action was to force it to stop. He wedged his front tire under the Jeep's front and drove toward the west side retaining wall of the expressway, where he was able to jam the SUV between the wall and his police car. The SUV came to a stop after about 150 yards.

Jenkins quickly came out of his police car and tried to enter the SUV but the driver's side door was locked. The female passenger was hysterical and unable to turn the engine off, put the SUV in the park position or unlock the doors.

Jenkins went to the passenger's side, climbed to the top of the wall and tried to talk to the woman. She did not speak English and did not know how to drive.

Suddenly, the SUV began to move, pushing Jenkins' car forward. Still on the retaining wall, Jenkins used hand gestures to show the woman passenger how to turn the engine off. He then went around the SUV and pointed at the window switch; the woman then rolled down the window.

Jenkins entered the SUV and checked on the condition of the driver, who was still unconscious, had shallow breathing and a weak pulse.

By then, Miami-Dade Correctional Officers Daniel Pena and Pedro Ferrer Colon came up and offered assistance. Jenkins asked them to monitor the driver's vital signs while he went to get his automatic external defibrillator.

Jenkins attached the defibrillator to the driver and monitored his vital signs until Fire Rescue units arrived.

'The potential for a serious accident was quelled, thanks to Sergeant Jenkins' quick, decisive actions,'' the MDPD statement said. ``Despite the dangers posed by this precarious incident, his bravery protected others from harm.''

 Miami Herald (http://www.herald.com/)

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