Seattle (Wash.) Police Officer John David Smith, center, was presented the Carnegie Medal by U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, right, who represents Washington’s eighth district. With them is Kaarisa B. Karley, whom Smith saved from a burning vehicle in July 2016.
Smith was off-duty when he witnessed an interstate highway accident in which the back of Karley’s vehicle caught fire. With flames in the rear of the passenger compartment, Smith worked to force the car’s driver’s door open, extended his upper body over the center console and repositioned Karley, who was slumped across both front seats. He then released her safety belt and, grasping her under the arms, backed from the vehicle with her, dragging her to safety. Flames grew and spread quickly to engulf the vehicles. Karley was not burned.
Reichert tweeted about the ceremony, stating he was “honored” to award Smith in recognition of his “bravery, sacrifice, and commitment to serving his community.”
Members from Smith’s department also attended the Oct. 18, 2017, presentation held at Reichert’s district office. Photo courtesy of Seattle Police Department.