Officer honored for saving driver’s life

Lebanon Police Officer Alan Baker was presented with a life saving award at the May 10 Lebanon City Council meeting.

“This came about when (Richard) Haley called us about a month ago and wanted to thank the officer who saved his life,” said LPD Chief Frank Stevenson. “Until this point, we had not known if Mr. Haley had survived.”

Because of transportation complications, Haley, 65, was not able to attend the May 10 meeting where Baker was recognized for his actions nearly two years ago.

“How I would have loved to have been there,” Haley said. “I’ve been waiting to give that guy a hug and a big ‘thank you.’”

Haley is at Avamere Rehab in Junction City, recovering from a stroke.

“I’ve been in rehab; I call it repair,” Haley said.

Stevenson recounted the incident, which started at about 5 a.m. on May 27, 2015, when Baker was dispatched to respond to a report of a possible intoxicated driver on or near Walker Road.

Baker spotted the car and followed it into the Grocery Outlet parking lot and approached Haley, the driver.

“As Officer Baker spoke with him, he observed some abnormalities, which alerted him to the fact that Mr. Haley could have been experiencing a medical-related issue instead of a substance impairment, as previously suspected,” Stevenson said.

Baker requested Lebanon medics who began emergency treatment and rushed Haley to the hospital.

“Officer Baker later found out that Mr. Haley had suffered a very large brain bleed, the kind of emergency that can often prove to be fatal,” Stevenson said. “If Officer Baker had not been attending to details, had delayed requesting medics, or had been intent on pushing forward with a DUII investigation, Mr. Haley quite possibly could have died that morning.”

When LPD learned what Baker did that night, Sgt. Klint Sheets recommended Baker, who has been with the department for 13 years, for the life-saving award, Stevenson said.

“Officer Baker, you are very deserving of this award, even though I know you looked at me and said, ‘Hey boss, I was just doing my job,’” Stevenson said. “On this day sir, your job was exceptionally well done and you saved a life and I thank you.”

Haley said Baker’s actions were a testament to the department’s organization and their training.

“I’m just more than thankful,” he said.