Carnegie Hero Commission Honors 20 Heroes
PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Phoenix police officer Russell E. Dean was staring down the barrel of his own revolver, held by a 16-year-old who threatened to kill him after being stopped for speeding, when a passerby intervened.
John W. Basey stopped his car, grabbed the assailant, pulled him off the policeman and then found himself facing the cocked and loaded gun.
Basey, a 40-year-old window washer, was one of 20 people honored Wednesday by the Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Hero Fund Commission for risking their lives attempting to save others. Unlike Basey, some of them were honored posthumously.
Those honored, each of whom receives a $2,500 cash reward and a medal, bring to 111 the number recognized this year. The organization has honored 7,405 Americans and Canadians since industrialist Andrew Carnegie established the commission in 1904.
Dean said Wednesday the 16-year-old he chased last July reached speeds of 80 mph on Phoenix’s streets before crashing his car into a tree.
When Dean stopped to apprehend the boy, the youth turned on the motorcycle officer and fell on him. The boy pulled Dean’s .38-caliber pistol from his holster.
″He put the gun right to my left eye and he said he was going to kill me,″ Dean said.
Then Basey arrived. ″Mr. Basey walked right up in the face of that gun that could have gone off at any time,″ Dean said. ″I believe Mr. Basey saved my life.″
Basey talked the 16-year-old into releasing the gun, and Dean handcuffed the boy and arrested him. Dean suffered only a sprained knee and scrapes.
Also recognized Wednesday were:
-Derek Lambert, 16, of Andrews, S.C., who saved a man who had fallen from a boat and severely cut his hands on the propeller on Oct. 9, 1988.
-Milton E. Bradford, 32, of Newport, N.J., who died saving a co-worker who was overcome by gas in a sewer shaft on Sept. 6, 1988.
-Shirley Belle Viscusi, 58, Howick, Quebec, a nurse who died trying to save a woman who suffocated in a home for the elderly that had caught fire on July, 25, 1988.
-Michael B. LaRiviere, 18, Rockaway, Ore., who died while swimming to save a man caught in an ocean current on July 30.
-Martin A. Benfield, 27, Lenoir, N.C., who nearly drowned pulling two young boys out of the ocean after they had gotten into water over the heads on June 14, 1988.
-Leonard A. Theroux, 65, Chepachet, R.I., who pulled a man from his burning auto before the vehicle became engulfed in flames on Feb. 18.
-Aaron Lorne Clark, 25, Magdalen Islands, Quebec, who drowned while helping to save a 13-year-old girl in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Aug. 21, 1986.
-Jerry L. Conrad, 35, Toledo, Ohio, who leaped into a moving car to save a 2-year-old girl on Sept. 23, 1987.
-Jerry O. Anderson, 35, Tulsa, Okla., who drowned while saving a 12-year- old boy who had fallen from a dam into deep water on May 27.
-Allen N. Davidson, 13, Gaffney, S.C., who crawled into a burning house and dragged an elderly woman to safety on Nov. 19, 1988.
-Michael Ollins, 33, Chicago, a bus driver who left his vehicle and stopped a group of young men from beating a man on a crowded city street on Aug. 20, 1987.
-Claude Cleroux, 50, Montreal; Serge Perron, 38, Repentigny, Quebec; and Robert K. Myles, 37, St. Hillaire, Quebec, all of whom helped save a co-worker trapped beneath a crumbling wall after an explosion in an oil refinery on December 16, 1986.
-Scott Walter Asson, 20, Burley, Idaho, who broke a car window and pulled a woman free just before the car was submerged in a flooded wash in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Oct. 14, 1988.
-Donat Pelletier, 43, and Guy Bernier, 41, both of Ste. Felicite, Quebec; and Denis Blanchet, 42, and Rejean Miville, 35, both of St. Pamphile, Quebec, who crossed the partially frozen surface of the St. John River to rescue a co- worker trapped in a bridge that was carried downstream April 1, 1986.