ST. IGNACE, Mich. (WJMN) – The scene that Ofc. Jacob Lauer with the Michigan State Police St. Ignace Post rolled up to back in March on on his way to a family vacation along US-23 in Monroe County was a scary sight.
“Black smoke up ahead,” said Lauer. “We were talking about what could it be. ‘Is it a tire that was on fire?’ ‘What was it?’ As we approached thought it was a car. Got closer and saw that it was a semi on its side. At that point I knew. There was no law enforcement, no EMS on scene. A couple of other vehicles had stopped that at that time I didn’t know what they were doing. So at that time, I decided that it was my time to at least go check to make sure that everyone was okay.”
Ofc. Lauer realized the driver was still in the semi and took action.
“So myself and a couple of other gentlemen were able to get the gentleman out of the vehicle and then I applied that training that I had with the State Police for first aid until EMS arrived on scene,” said Lauer.
“I was really excited to hear it. He called me and told me what happened,” said Lauer’s direct supervisor, Sgt. Ryan Werner. “I immediately dropped what I was doing, and I started making phone calls because the significance of what was done, I wanted to make sure he was getting the proper credit for what he did. Our department takes a lot of time and effort to train our individual officers and troopers to do what we do, and he did a good job training and acting that out.”
For Ofc. Lauer’s act of heroism, he was recently recognized with the department’s Bravery Award.
“The recognition for a time when an individual goes into a situation where they knowingly endanger their own self,” said Werner. “In this situation, there was a commercial motor vehicle that crashed, and he was in his personal vehicle on vacation when he was rolling on I-75. He stopped with putting out the flames with fire extinguishers because the truck was becoming engulfed with flames. He recognized the driver was still unconscious in the driver seat and he had a couple of people help him access to the truck, they pulled the driver out through the front windshield and once he got down to the ground through statements from other people that were there. They said it was just like on TV, they looked up and the truck was completely engulfed in flame. He also participated in doing advanced first aid tactics on the individual.”
If it wasn’t for Ofc. Lauer’s quick thinking and selfless act being off-duty, it could have been a different story along the highway that day.
“Talked to the family probably about a month ago now,” said Lauer. “They’re going to be okay. Sounds like the driver is making a recovery. He did tell me it was a very emotional phone call. When we were on the phone, his wife was very thankful that I was there that day. I guess he had a broken neck, multiple staples to the head, a broken lower back. From the impact of the crash, he had I guess a mini stroke so I guess he is recovering slowly but is recovering.”
“He definitely leads how we want people to lead,” said Werner. “The example he sets for others is very positive. I can’t add more to his demeanor than what he’s already shown what he has done. Day in and day out he does this kind of work. He’s very professional, courteous and he’s very caring of other people.”
“With the Michigan State Police, on and off duty we always have the sense to act,” said Lauer.