Photo/Story Gallery 2009
Not on His Watch!
On June 13th, 2009, Trooper Philippe LeBrun was parked in his patrol vehicle in the Navarre Park parking lot observing traffic on State Road 30, a location that has recently had serious vehicle crashes, including one fatality. During his watch, Trooper LeBrun observed a capsized vessel at least 200 yards off shore, west of the Navarre Beach Causeway/Bridge. The sea conditions were not good, with heavy chop, continuous swells and extreme winds.
Trooper LeBrun secured his vehicle and went to the shoreline to get a better view and assess the situation. He observed a victim, barely visible, who was in the water and attempting to maintain a handhold on the vessel.
While maintaining sight of the victim, Trooper LeBrun went back to his patrol vehicle to communicate with dispatch. As he did so, the victim became separated from the vessel. Trooper LeBrun felt the victims rescue could not wait for E.M.S. personnel and equipment to arrive, so he prepared to enter the water. The victim was also being propelled toward the east away from his position, making it impossible for a rescuer to swim fast enough to catch him. A fire truck arrived with two firefighters and Trooper LeBrun directed them to keep visual contact with the victim while he repositioned himself to the east side of the bridge in his patrol vehicle with lights and siren activated so that rescue efforts could better be affected.
Using a familiar dirt/sand trail, he made his way to the shoreline and reestablished visual contact with the victim. As he was preparing to enter the water, two paramedics, that had observed his route and followed him to his location, approached him. One of them identified himself as a certified lifeguard and said he would enter the water. Trooper LeBrun continued to coordinate the rescue from the shore.
As the victim was brought close to shore, several people waded out in the shallow water to render assistance. After the survivor was out of the water and in the care of the two paramedics, Trooper LeBrun proceeded further to the east and secured the capsized vessel on shore so it would not be a hazard to other vessels.
Trooper LeBrun is commended for going that extra mile and helping a citizen in need.