Lifestyle & Human Interest

Two Officers Narrowly Escape Death During Tornado, Then Risk Lives Again to Save an Injured Girl


By now many have heard of the incredible destruction caused by tornadoes over the weekend. As the stories of devastation continue to come in, stories of heroism in the face of disaster have started to come in, too.

The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center said at least 50 tornadoes were sighted across eight states, according to CNN. One of those tornadoes hit Mayfield, Kentucky, where Graves County Sheriff’s Deputy Chandler Siris and Sergeant Richard Edwards were waiting for it.

The two officers had placed themselves where they thought they’d be most useful after the twister hit the area — but they were nearly wiped out in the process.

As they hunkered down, the tornado passed very close to them, sending debris into their patrol cars and moving them.

“As the wind picked up and it picked my vehicle and turned it sideways, I was trying to back up,” Edwards told CNN. “He (Siris) was behind me, and we just couldn’t do anything. We just sat there. We tried to duck down and just hold on.”

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Photos from the Graves County Sheriff’s Department clearly show just how much damage the vehicles sustained: broken windows, dents and a piece of wood impaling one vehicle.

“There was some fiberglass that went through my 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,” Siris recounted.

As soon as they were able to exit their trashed cars, they decided to head to a nearby house despite the dangerous terrain — but then they heard screams for help.

“It was instantaneous,” Siris said. “As soon as we got out of our cars, we knew somebody needed help, and so we went to them.”

Turning around, they retrieved their go bags from their cars and then took off again towards the yelling. They had to go through a field to avoid the downed lines in the streets.

They were met with the sight of a girl whose leg was broken and who was “very profusely bleeding,” according to Edwards.

“She was going into shock,” he continued. “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.

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“It was very life-threatening; she had lost a lot of blood, and she was going into shock.”

Another officer who had arrived, Chief Deputy Jermey Prince, took her to a nearby hospital on her makeshift backboard.

An update by Sheriff Jon Hayden on the Graves County Sheriff’s Office page commended the two officers for their work.

“We are thankful that Deputies Chander Sirls and Richard Edwards escaped injury when the tornado struck their patrol vehicles while driving in the Baltimore area,” the post from Dec. 11 read. “Deputies had placed themselves in danger to enable them to tend to potential victims quickly.

“After their vehicles were disabled by the tornado, they were able to pull a young girl from debris, who suffering a broken leg and profuse bleeding. She was then transported to an emergency room by Chief Deputy Jermey Prince.”

Later, they were told that the girl was expected to make it, though she had been in very serious condition.

Without these two heroes in the right place at the right time, she wouldn’t have had a chance.

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