STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
AUSTIN — A Burnet-based trooper with the Texas Department of Public Safety has earned a Life Saving Award for his courage and successful effort in rescuing a motorist stranded in a low-water crossing during a torrential storm.
On June 15, Trooper Franklin Randolph received the recognition from DPS Director Steven McCraw, who also presented three more Life Saving Awards, two Director’s Awards, and a Unit Citation to DPS and auxiliary employees across the state.
“The people we honored today epitomize the department’s mission of protecting and serving Texas,” wrote McCraw in a statement. “Whether they were rescuing children from harm, saving someone’s life, or providing vital investigatory support, these exemplary men and women have served Texas with distinction, and we are proud to honor their efforts.”
On Nov. 7, 2016, Randolph and Burnet County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Molina arrived at the scene of a vehicle stalled in the roadway partially submerged by swift-moving water. The driver was still inside.
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THE BCSO report logged the incident as happening at 10:38 p.m. that night on Fairland Road (FM 1855).
“(It) had been raining heavily, and water crossings in the area had quickly become impassable. Upon his arrival, Trooper Randolph entered the water to assist a single occupant in the partially submerged vehicle,” according to DPS. “He was able to pull the driver through the window as Burnet County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Eric Molina threw his rescue rope to the trooper. As Trooper Randolph held onto the driver and rescue rope, the deputy pulled them both to safety.”
DPS officials said the deputy is scheduled to be presented with a Director’s Award in the future.
Randolph joined the DPS in 2004. He has served in Burnet County since 2006.
The following is a list of other peace officers honored by DPS:
• Trooper Patrick Alonzo of Georgetown earned a Director’s Citation. From January 2016 through February 2017, Alonzo submitted 10 criminal charges on six separate adults for exploiting or harming children – and at least seven children were protected or rescued.
• Trooper James Glaze and Trooper Brandon Laird, both of Dallas, each received a Life Saving Award. On Dec. 13, 2016, Troopers Glaze and Laird were on routine patrol when they assisted the Dallas Police Department on an armed robbery in progress. The troopers arrived at the scene and located a victim who was bleeding from a shotgun wound to his left arm. Glaze, with Laird’s assistance, applied a tourniquet and stabilized the victim.
• Trooper Samuel Hellinger of Gainesville received a Life Saving Award, and Cooke County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Bill Dixon received a Director’s Award. On Jan. 7, 2017, Hellinger was on routine patrol in Cooke County when he observed a woman near the edge of the U.S. 82 overpass bridge above Interstate 35 threatening to jump. Hellinger and the sheriff’s deputy were credited with pulling the woman off the barrier to safety.
• Chief Customs and Border Protection Officer Olga de Luna received a Director’s Award. From Jan. 1, 2017, through March 9, 2017, de Luna assisted with more than 75 incoming Human Intelligence reports as well as aiding DPS on matters involving Mexican cartels, homicide, terrorism, violent gang activity, human smuggling and trafficking, narcotics, weapons, theft, fraud, money laundering, kidnapping, threats to law enforcement, stash house locations, and corruption.
• The Human Intelligence Team of the Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division in Austin received a Unit Citation. From Jan. 1, 2015, through Dec. 31, 2016, the entity has produced 136 Intelligence information reports regarding tactics, techniques, and procedures of Transnational Criminal Organizations in cooperation with the United States. Department of Homeland Security partners. The team also worked with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to identify more than 100 foreign nationals of interest in illicit criminal activity. The team also assisted the U.S. Border Patrol in locating and identifying stash houses; the FBI in the identification and apprehension of two individuals charged with providing material support to terrorists; and the Texas Rangers in three separate murder investigations. Capt. Jason Brewer, Lt. Leonard Hinojosa, and Special Agents Michael McAnarney, David Cordova, and Leo Pena were recognized as part of the Unit Citation.