On March 12, 2014, truck driver Clinton D. Blackburn was driving through Bardstown, Kentucky when he noticed a police cruiser on the opposite side of the highway. The cruiser was partially on the grass median. Blackburn watched as the police cruiser lurched forward and then came to an abrupt stop.
The patrol car was being driven by Darrell L. Herndon. Herndon was transporting a male prisoner who was in the back seat. During the transport, the prisoner managed to slip from his cuffs and reach his arms through the an opening in the patrol car’s divider. The prisoner placed his arm around Herndon’s neck and began choking him.
Herndon was able to maintain control of the cruiser and attempted to pull off of the roadway.
Blackburn looked into the patrol car and saw the attack on Herndon. He pulled his truck off of the highway and ran to assist Herndon.
By the time Blackburn arrived at the police cruiser, the prisoner was in the front cabin of the cruiser.
Blackburn partially entered the cruiser and pushed the prisoner off of Herndon. During the struggle, the prisoner pulled Herndon’s gun from its holster and threatened to shoot Blackburn and Herndon.
Blackburn bravely grabbed the barrel of the gun and wrestled over it with the prisoner as Herndon “dropped from the vehicle to the ground,” Carnegie reported.
After a battle for control of the gun, Blackburn was able to wrestle the gun from the prisoner’s hands. Blackburn turned the gun on the prisoner and held him there while Herndon recovered from the choking.
Herndon was taken to an area hospital and treated for a minor injury. Blackburn sustained cut and bruising. Both men fully recovered.
For his act of bravery, Blackburn was awarded the Carnegie Medal for Heroism. “The medal is given throughout the United States and Canada to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others,” Carnegie states.
Carnegie Hero Fund Commission