The Washington State Patrol honored two men on March 20 for their heroic actions that saved the life of another on Aug. 13, 2008.
On that date at approximately 7:10 a.m., James Dean, of Glenwood, and Phillip Vermeire, of White Salmon, were traveling separately on State Route 14 at milepost 46 when they came upon a two-car collision just east of the town of Stevenson.
Both men observed that one of the vehicles involved was engulfed in flames with the driver, Laurel Hicks, of Stevenson, still inside the vehicle. Without regard for their own safety Dean and Vermeire broke through the driver's window and removed Hicks from the vehicle.
Dean suffered second and third degree burns to his hands and arms. Hicks suffered back fractures, internal injuries, burns over 30 percent of her body.
After moving Hicks to safe area away from the hazard, both men turned their attention to the second vehicle. They noticed the driver, David Storby, of The Dalles, was still in the driver's seat and had suffered multiple fractures to both legs. In addition, leaking gas from Storby's vehicle was running down hill towards the burning vehicle. Dean and Vermeire were able to remove Storby from the vehicle and away from the fire.
Both Hicks and Storby survived their injuries.
Thanks to the quick and heroic actions of Dean and Vermeire the lives of two fellow citizens were saved that day.
The Award of Merit is one the highest awards given by the Washington State Patrol to citizens and in this particular case it was awarded to Dean and Vermeire for risking their own personal safety to save the lives of another.
Dean and Vermeire were both presented the Award of Merit in Stevenson by Captain Robert Johnson, District Five Commander. Hicks was in attendance at the ceremony.