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Pine Hill police officers honored

On the evening of Oct. 4, 2008, Sgt. Nikisha Gailes, Patrol Officer Chance Gaines and Auxiliary Police Officer Buddy Buchanan, was on patrol on the south end of Pine Hill’s police jurisdiction on Alabama Highway 5, where they observed a car traveling south on Alabama Highway 5 over the posted speed limit.

The officers headed south behind the vehicle but it was out of sight when they rounded the curve just before the Clarke County line. They continued south in pursuit but still did not see the vehicle.

After traveling partially into Clark County, Sgt. Gailes called Patrolman Gaines and called off the pursuit.

As Sgt. Gailes was slowing down to turn around, she observed a vehicle crashing a ways ahead of her, she continued to the crash and saw that it was a vehicle they had been following. She saw the car was on fire and she called for assistance, at that time she saw that it was an unmarked municipal police car.

She and the other two officers ran to the burning car and found that two men were trapped inside and they could not get them out. Officers ran to their patrol vehicles and got the two fire extinguishers and attempted to put the fire out of the blazing vehicle. A passerby stopped with another fire extinguisher and gave it to our officers, after using three fire extinguishers up they finally got the fire under control.

Sgt. Gailes continued to call for help and soon the Pine Hill Fire Department arrived with the Jaws of Life.

Thomasville Police Officers also arrived and soon the Thomasville Fire Department arrived. With the fire departments starting to extract the two men, the officers then concentrated on traffic control. We believe that Chief Hicks did not know that my officers were even behind him, because of the distance between them, the hills and curves in the road.

For the actions of Sgt. Nikisha Gailes, Patrol Officer Chance Gaines and Auxiliary Police Officer Buddy Buchanan, I am awarding them with the Life Saving Medal for saving Thomasville Police Chief Billy Hicks and Mr. Ronald Jowers, from a certain burning death and for being under adverse conditions with a degree of hazard to the officer’s lives and or limbs.

It is my honor and privilege to bestow the distinguished Life Saving Metal to all three officers for saving the lives of these two men. I have ordered the medals and certificates that will be awarded to them in a formal presentation ceremony, the date not yet established.

Our hearts and prayers go out to both these men and their families for a swift and full recovery.