Kentucky Police Officers Escape Tornado-Damaged Patrol Cars to Save Injured Child
Graves County Sheriff's Deputy Chandler Sirls and Sergeant Richard Edwards were in their patrol cars outside of Mayfield, Kentucky, when a tornado ripped through the area Friday evening. They positioned themselves in the path of the tornado on purpose. According to Graves County Sheriff's Office, Sirls and Edwards "placed themselves in danger" so they could "tend to potential victims quickly." In flash, the tornado was directly on top of them.
With debris flying, the men sheltered in their vehicles while the storm descended upon them.
"As the wind picked up and it picked my vehicle and turned it sideways, I was trying to back up," Edwards told CNN Monday. "He (Sirls) was behind me, and we just couldn't do anything. We just sat there. We tried to duck down and just hold on."
Sirls and his car took quite a beating.
"There was some fiberglass that went through my passenger side window that hit me and there was about an 8-foot piece of wood that came through the back of my car and pierced it," he told CNN.
After the tornado passed, Sirls and Edwards left their cars and began running to the nearest house for shelter. That's when they heard people screaming for help. Dodging downed power lines, they ran back to their battered cars for their emergency kits.
With help from a third officer, Chief Deputy Jeremy Prince, they pulled a young girl from the debris. She had suffered a broken leg and was "bleeding profusely."
"She was going into shock," Edwards told CNN. "We applied the tourniquet. We called for medics, (but) there's no way they could have got to us, so we went outside and found an old interior panel door and we used that as a backboard. We loaded her up."
Sirls and Edwards loaded the girl into the back of Prince's car, and he drove her to a nearby hospital.
Edwards told CNN that the last heard she was going to survive.
"It was very life-threatening; she had lost a lot of blood; and she was going into shock," he recalled.
A historic weather system spawned dozens of tornadoes that devastated parts of the South and Midwest Friday night. At least 88 people—74 in Kentucky—were killed.
Our hearts are with all those impacted by this terrible event.