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Sergeant Matt Edwards Honored


Porter Co. officer honored with life saving award

By Times Staff | March 2, 2012 10:28 am


A Porter County sheriff's officer this week received the Life Saving Award from the Porter County Council for saving a family of four from a burning vehicle.

On Jan. 14, Sgt. Matt Edwards was leading a procession escorting the body of Spc. Robert Tauteris Jr., of Hamlet, from the Porter County Airport on eastbound U.S. 30 in Washington Township to a North Judson funeral home.

As the procession passed, a westbound Jeep driven by Ana Pina, 35, of South Bend stopped for the procession and was rear-ended by a Chevrolet pickup truck.

The impact caused Pina's Jeep to burst into flames, with her mother in the passenger seat next to her and her 6-year-old twins in the back.

Edwards alerted authorities to the crash and went into the Jeep, cutting the safety restraints on the 6-year-old boy.

"Sgt. Edwards' unselfish act saved this child's life," Lt. Chris Eckert wrote in a letter to Maj. Barry Chayhitz recommending Edwards for the award. "The boy would have burned to death had Edwards not acted swiftly and without regard for his own life."

Edwards suffered smoke inhalation.

Cpl. Dan Becker of the Indiana State Police also received the award for his similar efforts in the rescue. Becker, too, suffered smoke inhalation trying to free the family from the vehicle.

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