Trooper Jason R. Hypes
Virginia State Police
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Trooper Jason R. Hypes of the Virginia State Police as its Officer of the Month for September 2006.
Every so often a story of a police officer pulling a trapped person from a burning car will come across the newswire. Vehicle fires themselves are highly volatile and unpredictable and flames can consume a car in a matter of seconds leaving a trapped motorist with only moments to escape. Such was the case for Trooper Jason Hypes, who while responding to a distress call, came across a vehicle engulfed in flames. The vehicle in question was another police cruiser and Trooper Hypes would soon be fighting to free his partner from an inferno.
On October 1, 2005 a distress call came in to which Troopers Jason Hypes and P.M. Taylor responded, each driving his own cruiser. In the lead, Trooper Taylor crested a hill southbound on U.S. 301 at a high rate of speed and came upon a Frog Level volunteer fire department emergency vehicle moving slowly about two miles north of State Route 30. Trooper Taylor swerved to avoid striking the emergency vehicle, however losing control his cruiser skidded counter-clockwise 288 feet across the road and down an embankment striking several trees along the way. The cruiser immediately ignited leaving the trooper trapped inside.
Trooper Hypes, driving approximately 25 seconds behind Trooper Taylor, crested the same hill and was confronted with the horrific sight of his partner's cruiser totally engulfed in flames. Trooper Hypes rushed to assist the volunteer firefighters as they attempted to extinguish the flames using a portable fire extinguisher.
Believing that there was not sufficient time to extinguish the fire, Trooper Hypes concentrated on removing Trooper Taylor from the vehicle. Trooper Taylor's seatbelt was jammed; making it impossible to vacate the burning vehicle. With complete disregard for his own safety, Trooper Hypes approached the burning vehicle and used his ASP baton to break out the driver's side window. Trooper Hypes cut the seatbelt and pulled Trooper Taylor from the cruiser just as the department issued ammunition, located inside the trunk, began to explode. Desperate to get himself and Trooper Taylor to safety, Trooper Hypes carried his colleague to the opposite side of the roadway and immediately contacted emergency personnel. Looking back the troopers saw that the vehicle was completely engulfed in flames and the surrounding trees had ignited, making access to the automobile totally impossible.
Trooper Taylor was flown to the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center where he was treated and released the next day and thankfully has fully recovered from the neck and shoulder injuries he sustained. With regard to his colleague and friend, Trooper Hypes, Trooper Taylor stated, "He is an extraordinary man. If he hadn't done what he did that day, quite frankly I wouldn't be here."
On May 17, 2006, Virginia State Police Superintendent W. Steven Flaherty presented Trooper Jason R. Hypes with the department's Award of Honor. The Award of Honor is the highest award presented by the Superintendent, in recognition for an extraordinary act of valor that includes jeopardizing one's own safety and going above and beyond the call of duty.
Trooper Hypes, is 26 years old and has been with the Virginia State Police for one year. He is married with no children. It was Robert Gordon, Executive Vice President of the United Federation of Police and NLEOMF Board Member, who nominated Trooper Hypes for this award.