Yesterday we lost a friend and fellow officer of the law. Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Snipes was killed in an off-duty motorcycle accident in Bradley County Tennessee. Even though we didn’t hang out while off-duty, I considered Joe a friend. I had several occasions to work with Joe on vehicle wrecks where I either assisted him or he was assisting me. He always offered whatever help or advice he could and he was always very appreciative of the help he was given. Even when frustrated he always treated me with respect.
The one thing that I will remember about Joe is that he rarely complained. I remember pulling up to a crash on I-75 on one particular occasion. A storm was coming in and it was bringing heavy rain with it. As the rain began to pour down Joe just looked at me and said, oh well, this is what the State pays me to do. He took his job serious and was always there to ensure the safety of the motoring public through enforcement.
I heard a talk-radio journalist read the headline about the accident this morning. It went something like this, Just because your a law enforcement officer doesn’t mean accidents don’t happen to you. That isn’t a direct quote but it was something to that affect. I took offense to it. No one ever said we were perfect. We, as law enforcement officers, are human just like everyone else. We make mistakes and, at times, our lives are cut short just like everyone else. We just try to do our part to make this place a better and safer place to live.
As we head in to this Labor Day weekend and as we soon begin to reflect upon the emergency workers that were lost ten years ago on September 11th, 2001, lets remember that our law enforcement officers are just trying to do their part. Thank an officer, medical person or firefighter when you see them and remember Trooper Snipes and his family. Keep them in your prayers, especially his wife Sheila who was taken to the hospital due to the injuries she sustained as the passenger of the motorcycle they were riding.
*Disclaimer: the names have been changed to protect the innocent.*
I witnessed one of the most touching acts a father should never have to be a part of the other morning.
My shift was just about to end when myself and my zone partner were dispatched to a wreck with injuries and entrapment. The crash was less than a mile from my current location and within a couple of minutes I was pulling up to one of the most complex vehicle crashes I have seen in my short five year law enforcement career.
What I saw as i pulled up was a mid-sized vehicle on its side, but what made this more interesting is that the vehicle was wrapped around a tree. The resting position of the vehicle was causing the driver to be unable to get out of the vehicle.
As I ran around the side of the car to assess the damage and to get some patient information I was met by a gentleman in a button-down shirt. The passerby began giving me some patient information and then crawled back into the car as far as he could to talk to the driver and assure him that help was on the way.
As time progressed I learned that the passerby was not just any citizen who happened to stop to render aid; he was the drivers father. The dad never once broke a tear yet the love for his son was apparent. He never left his son’s side until forced to do so by the Rescue workers.
The most memorable part of this scene and the part that will stick with me forever is when I heard the father and his son pray the sinners prayer as the young driver accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
From what I have gathered, the driver survived. I’m not sure about the extent of the injuries and honestly, I wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing those here anyway.
Two fathers were at work on this particular morning. The drivers earthly father saved his son’s life by giving a few breaths to revive him and our Godly father worked a miracle by placing his earthly father on the scene and then entering his heart when he prayed the prayer that will now ensure his eternal salvation.