AUBURN, Wash. (Gray News) - Authorities in Washington state are praising the actions of five young men who stepped in to help a deputy under attack from a suspected drunken driver, who was allegedly trying to flee the scene of a car accident.
King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht presented the five young men Monday with the “Medal of Heroism,” an award that was created to honor community members who do extraordinary things, according to the sheriff’s office.
The honorees were identified as 16-year-old Darrell Swilley, 17-year-old Isaiha Sansaver, 18-year-old Tyran Powell, 18-year-old Kai Tavares and 19-year-old Dominic Sansaver.
“We can’t thank these fine young men enough. They are true heroes,” wrote the sheriff’s office on Facebook.
Authorities say Deputy Elliott, who was off-duty and driving her patrol car home, was flagged down at the scene of a car crash that involved multiple vehicles around 1 a.m. July 18 in Auburn, Washington.
While Elliot checked to make sure no one was injured, a suspected drunken driver believed to have caused the accident began walking away from the scene. The deputy tried to physically detain him, but the suspect fought back, according to the sheriff’s office.
The suspect put Elliot in a chokehold, and as she struggled to breathe, she heard several young men’s voices yelling, “Get off of her.” The five young men jumped on and subdued the suspect, helping the deputy to get free and handcuff him.
Elliot suffered scrapes and bruising from the incident but was not seriously injured. Authorities say the young men’s actions “quite possibly saved her life.”
“Moms and Dads, you should be proud of these kids!” wrote the sheriff’s office on Facebook.
The suspect, who was not identified, was arrested for felony assault of an officer and driving under the influence. He had several other warrants for his arrest, including DUI and driving with a suspended license.
The sheriff’s office says this is only the second time Johanknecht has awarded the Medal of Heroism.