Porter Co. officer honored with life
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
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
"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.