KINGMAN - For the third time in his five-year career with the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, Deputy Shane Thompson was presented with the Life Saver Award for his actions during a fiery accident that trapped two women in their car this summer.
Thompson was on patrol in Dolan Springs around 6 p.m. June 14 when he came upon a two-car head-on collision on Pierce Ferry Road. An elderly couple in one of the cars was climbing out as Thompson rolled up, but two women in their 20s in the other car were trapped as flames licked around them.
"I knew if I didn't act quickly I was going to lose them," Thompson said.
He could hear the driver screaming for help while the passenger was moaning, passing in and out of consciousness.
Thompson grabbed the fire extinguisher from his car and emptied it trying to quell the fire. He had resorted to using water bottles and throwing dirt on the flames when a truck hauling a boat drove up. Thompson grabbed the boat's fire extinguishers and was able to finally extinguish the blaze within five minutes of when he had first pulled up.
The Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire Department then responded to the scene and spent the next hour and a half extricating the women from the vehicle. The department told Sheriff Tom Sheahan that his deputy's actions kept the accident from becoming a fatality.
"If not for Deputy Thompson's valor, courage and level of resourcefulness, the individuals would have died," he said.
One of the women Thompson saved was present for the presentation of his award at Monday's Board of Supervisors meeting. It's the third such award he's received since joining the Sheriff's Office in January 2006. The other two were for his actions during a shooting in Dolan Springs and the rescue of a young girl who, along with her sister, fell into a mine in Chloride in a heavily publicized September 2007 incident.
Thompson credits the training he received from the Sheriff's Office for allowing him to keep his composure in difficult situations.
"The training gives you the mindset where you automatically go into a mode to take care of the situation at hand even as the adrenaline's kicking in," he said.