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ROANOKE — A Virginia State Police trooper who patrols the Twin Counties has been recognized with a Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police “Lifesaving Award” for his part in responding to a fiery Dec. 23, 2011, crash on Interstate 77.
At about 2:40 a.m. that day, Trooper Charles “Chuck” H. Campbell Jr. responded to a single-vehicle crash in Carroll County at the area known as the “Tater Hole,” a notorious site of I-77 crashes.
Upon his arrival, Campbell found a tractor-trailer had overturned in a curve, crashed through the guardrail and come to rest in a deep ravine, according to a news release.
Without the actions of the trooper and citizens at the scene, driver Joshua Wayne Gantt of Vale, N.C., would have died from his injuries and the fire.
"I had two broken legs, a broken arm and was broken up all over and couldn't move," Gantt told state police. "The trooper and other people pulled me from the wreck and got me away from the fire."
The trooper and the citizens who had stopped at the scene quickly went down the steep embankment to the truck that had become engulfed in flames.
They quickly searched the area and located the driver, who had been ejected from the wreckage and was lying inside what was left of the trailer portion of the truck. The driver had suffered serious injuries and was unable to move on his own.
“Campbell and the other individuals pulled the driver from the wreckage to a safe location and rendered aid to him until fire and EMS arrived,” the news release said.
“Without the swift actions of Trooper Campbell and the other citizens, the driver would have most certainly died from his injuries and the consuming fire.”
Campbell is one of 15 officers recognized by the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police and the Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation with the lifesaving award.
“The Lifesaving Award recognizes an officer's actions that put the officer in harm's way in an attempt to save the live of another individual,” the news release said.
This is the second award to someone who participated in the rescue.
Citizen Michael Todd received an award in May from the Virginia State Police Association.