Life-saving heroism honored during Deputy of the Month ceremony in Humble

June 6, 2018

A vehicle accident in May left a seven-month-old little girl trapped under a dashboard, but due to the diligent and collaborative efforts of first responders, the little girl survived.

One of the heroes during this rescue was Harris County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Joe Leal.

On June 6, HCSO personnel and Citizens Police Academy alumni gathered at the HCSO District 2 substation in Humble to honor five law enforcement officers.

The CPA have a longstanding tradition of honoring Deputies of the Month. The June 6 ceremony covered 3 months-worth of awards.

“I’m very proud of what you guys have been doing,” said Lieutenant William Gray, HCSO District 2 patrol bureau.

Joining Leal as June’s Deputy of the Month was Jersey Village Officer Blake McElhaney.

“This is the first time that I know of in any district where we have recognized an officer who is not part of the HCSO,” said Lauren Clifton, Citizens Police Academy alumnus.

Upon seeing the accident, although he was not on duty, McElhaney stopped to take action.

“Jersey Village Officer McElhaney was on his way home,” Gray said. “He works the night shift. He rolled up on a bad accident and he took control.”

McElhaney was shielding the trapped baby girl from glass when Leal got to the scene and helped lift the dashboard enough to take some of the pressure off of the baby.

“It was rough,” McElhaney said, recalling the baby’s condition at the scene. “Seven months old.”

The Spring Volunteer Fire Department arrived and helped get the smashed vehicles to a point where Leal could raise the dashboard enough for the baby to be removed from the vehicle.

“Baby Elena was then life-lighted from the scene to Memorial Hermann Hospital,” Gray stated in a commendation statement, read by Clifton. “Due to the expeditious and courageous actions of Deputy Leal and Officer McElhaney this life-threatening situation was resolved without the loss of life.”

Deputies of the Month for May were Deputy Jesse Leal and Deputy Rebecca Cruz who both played an integral role in saving the life of a 21-year-old man who was allegedly about to fling himself from an overpass in attempt to commit suicide.

“As soon as the subject looked up and saw the deputies, he swung his entire body off the bridge and was holding onto the ledge with just finger tips,” Gray stated. “Both Deputy (Jesse) Leal and Deputy Cruz immediately rushed toward the subject, grabbing him by the arms, body, clothes, and hair to prevent his fall from the bridge. One of the citizens had also rushed in to assist.”

The account goes on to state that the man was pulled up off the ledge, but ended up darting for the ledge again. After subduing him, the man was taken to a psychiatric center.

April’s Deputy of the Month was Sergeant Raymond Scholwinski. He was honored for serving nearly 4 decades with the HCSO.

Scholwinkski has worked for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office since 1979. He served throughout multiple devastating storm events including Tropical Storm Allison, Hurricane Ike and most recently, Hurricane Harvey.

“Sgt. Scholwinski has been with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office for 39 years,” stated Lieutenant William Gray in a statement of commendation. “During this period he has proven his commitment to law enforcement and the community he so effectively serves.”


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