Photo/Story Gallery 2008
Trooper Receives Life Saving Award
On March 16th, 2008, Corporal Mark Raiche was responding to an emergency call, southbound on Highway 85 from Crestview. An intoxicated driver in the wrong lane forced Cpl. Raiche to take evasive action to avoid the imminent head-on collision. The resulting crash was significant and potentially deadly. The patrol car came to rest upside down with Cpl. Raiche trapped and unconscious. The engine compartment of the patrol car quickly caught fire with Cpl. Raiche still trapped in the vehicle, suspended upside down by his seatbelt.
Trooper Cary Hurst had seen the accident occur as he approached from the south. He called for assistance and went to render aid. Deputy Jeff Morgan and Firefighter Richard Cook arrived seconds later as Tpr. Hurst was attempting to open the crumpled doors of the vehicle, without success. All three men worked in concert to remove Cpl. Raiche’s seatbelt and extract him through a window. During this process, Deputy David Chamberlain arrived and kept the fire suppressed with his extinguishers.
Once clearing Cpl. Raiche from the car, Firefighter Cook used his fire rescue training to instruct the others and provide stabilizing aid. Other rescue and law enforcement units arrived and Cpl. Raiche was evacuated by air to Sacred Heart Trauma Center. Cpl. Raiche sustained significant injuries but was stabilized and released after a five day hospital stay.
Pictured above left, Trooper Cary Hurst, Richard Cook (Was at the time of the photo and incident a part-time Fire Fighter with Niceville FD), Sheriff Deputies Jeffrey Morgan, and Mark Raiche and right, LtoR: Okaloosa Chief Deputy Michael Coup, Deputy Mark Raiche, Trooper Cary Hurst, Deputy Jeffrey Morgan, and Richard Cook