John Miner

In another police rescue, Sheriff’s Deputy John Miner, 39, of Phillipsburg, Kansas, pulled off a rural highway in Long Island, Kansas, to offer aid to two families that had pulled their pickup trucks to the side of the road after one of them had engine issues on Nov. 4, 2020. A tractor trailer driving on the highway hit the police vehicle and a trailer, rupturing one of the semi-truck’s fuel tanks. Diesel fuel was sprayed onto one of the pickups and flames erupted on its passenger side. After being informed that there were children in the backseat of the truck, Miner ran to the passenger side and opened the rear door. He quickly unlatched 4-year-old Ella Rae L. Sorensen-Wilkens from her car seat, lifted her from the seat and brought her to her father. Miner then ran back to the vehicle and entered the burning vehicle from the same side to reach 2-year-old Emric C. Wilkens in a car seat behind the driver’s seat. Unable to unlatch the harness, Miner used a pocketknife to cut the straps of the car seat and freed Emric. As flames spread and ignited Miner’s pant leg, Miner dropped Emric to the ground, where his father retrieved him and took him to safety. Ella and Emric were not injured. Miner suffered second- and third-degree burns to his leg that required skin-grafting surgery. He ultimately recovered.