York deputies honored for saving lives, stopping bad guys

Liz Evans Scolforo
  • Four deputies were honored at an awards ceremony Friday for saving people's lives.
  • Others were honored for making arrests and finding drugs and guns.
  • Three members of the sheriff's office have been promoted, as well.

Four deputies who saved lives over the past year were among those honored Friday during an awards ceremony held by the York County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Richard Keuerleber presented Deputies Nathan Payne, Michael Lutz and Cody Myers, as well as former deputy Wesley Johnson, with life-saving medals.

Sheriff Richard Keuerleber reads Deputy Nathan Payne's life-saving medal award during the York County Sheriff's Department awards and promotions ceremony at the York County Judicial Center, Friday, July 8, 2016.  John A. Pavoncello photo

Payne and Lutz, both members of the sheriff's Criminal Response Unit, were finishing an assignment when they saw a West Manchester Township police officer trying to help an unconscious man at the corner of West Philadelphia and Beaver streets on Nov. 20.

When Payne started CPR, the victim had no pulse and his lips were blue, Keuerleber said. Lutz assisted Payne by keeping the man's airway open.

After starting CPR, the deputies were able to detect a slight pulse coming from the victim, who had suffered a heart attack, the sheriff said. An ambulance responded and rushed the man — who ultimately survived — to a local hospital.

PHOTOS: Sheriff's Department awards

Payne, who has been a deputy since 2008, said it meant a lot to him to be recognized and that he and Lutz simply took action to help the man.

"We knew it had to be done," he said.

Hit home: Being able to save the man meant a great deal to Payne, who had performed CPR on his own father Nov. 5. Despite the deputy's efforts, his father died that day. So when he found himself doing CPR again just two weeks later, it really hit home.

Sheriff Richard Keuerleber, left, reads the life-saving medal award for Deputy Cody Myers and now Trooper Wesley Johnson during the York County Sheriff's Department awards and promotions ceremony at the York County Judicial Center, Friday, July 8, 2016.  John A. Pavoncello photo

"It was almost like Dad was speaking to me: 'Somebody needs your help — you can do it,'" Payne told The York Dispatch. He said he hopes the man he and Lutz helped save realizes how lucky he was to get a second chance.

"Some people don't get that," Payne said.

Lutz did not attend Friday's awards ceremony. He remains off-duty for now, recovering at home from gunshot wounds to his cheek and thumb. Keuerleber has said Lutz will fully recover.

He was shot June 9 by wanted fugitive James Allen Nickol as Lutz and other deputies went to a York City home to arrest him. After being wounded, Lutz returned fire and shot Nickol, who died of multiple gunshot wounds to his torso, officials have said.

York remembers fallen officers

More lifesavers: Deputy Myers and Johnson, now a Pennsylvania State Police trooper, helped save the life of a man who was losing a great deal of blood from a severe wrist laceration in the 300 block of East College Avenue on April 17, 2015.

Blood was pouring from the man's wound, causing him to lose consciousness and fall, at which point he struck his head, according to the sheriff's office.

Sheriff Richard Keuerleber presents Sgt. Shawn Brady with the Distinguished Public Service Award during the York County Sheriff's Department awards and promotions ceremony at the York County Judicial Center, Friday, July 8, 2016.  John A. Pavoncello photo

Myers and Johnson applied a tourniquet to the man's wrist, stanching the bleeding. The man regained consciousness before being taken to York Hospital and survived, Keuerleber said.

Their quick action likely saved the man's life, but most certainly saved his arm, according to the sheriff.

"That's what we're trained for," said Johnson, who became a state trooper about a year ago. "It doesn't matter when the call comes out ... it doesn't matter who they are."

Johnson described himself and his law-enforcement colleagues as idealists who want to help their communities.

"We were in the right place at the right time," Myers said.

Legion of Merit: Sheriff's Lt. David Allison was awarded the Legion of Merit medal.

It was his research and work that allowed the sheriff's office to have the best lifesaving kits possible on hand for deputies to use in the field, according to Keuerleber.

Sheriff Richard Keuerleber presents Deputy Kenneth Leveck with the Distinguished Public Service Award during the York County Sheriff's Department awards and promotions ceremony at the York County Judicial Center, Friday, July 8, 2016.  John A. Pavoncello photo

Lives would have been lost without Allison's work, according to his supervisors.

Public service: Sheriff's Sgt. Shawn Brady was honored at Friday's ceremony with two Distinguished Public Service awards for his work over the past year.

York County sheriff: 'Thank God no one was hurt'

One award was for a Feb. 26 incident during which an intoxicated man was driving recklessly in the area of the York County Judicial Center during lunchtime and crashed into a fire hydrant near Brady. The driver took off, but ended up circling around and getting stopped in traffic near the judicial center.

Brady and former sheriff's Sgt. Troy Senft got the driver stopped and took him into custody until York City Police arrived.

Before that, on Dec. 3, Brady was flagged down at the corner of George and Market streets in York City for an assault and robbery that had just happened, his supervisors said.

Brady tracked down and apprehended the robber and turned him over to York City Police.

"Sgt. Brady's been busy," Keuerleber said.

Others honored: Other members of the sheriff's office honored Friday for their service were:

  • Deputy Kenneth Leveck, who on March 19 spotted a large group of juveniles on Tioga Street, then saw one of them brandish a handgun. He approached, causing the teens to run away, and recovered the handgun.
  • Sgt. Sam Shipley and Deputy Nicholas Ayres were presented with the state police's Blooming Grove service award for their assistance in the massive 48-day manhunt for accused police killer Eric Frein in 2014. Shipley provided assistance with his K-9 partner, Lt. Lou, the sheriff's office's tracking bloodhound.
  • Deputy David Bock Jr. was honored with a commendable service award for his actions on March 9, 2015. While running security screening at the entrance of the York County Judicial Center, Bock found a handcuff key hidden in the wallet of a man who later admitted he hid the key because he expected to be arrested on his four outstanding felony warrants, Keuerleber said. Bock's discovery prevented a possible escape, the sheriff said.
  • Myers, Lutz, Johnson and Deputy Shane Becker received letters of recognition Friday. While serving a warrant at a home on West Philadelphia Street in March 2015, the foursome spotted drugs there and summoned the York County Drug Task Force, which seized 375 bags of heroin from the home as well as a handgun, Keuerleber said.

Dogs' best friends: Also honored Friday were Dover Animal Hospital, VCA Old Trail Animal Hospital in Glen Rock, Dog Gone Clean Car and Pet Wash and Custom Canines LLC. All those businesses provide free or reduced-cost services for Lt. Lou and Capt. Dargo, the sheriff's office's two K-9 officers.

The promotions of three sheriff's deputies were acknowledged at Friday's ceremony as well. Richard Reincke was promoted to sergeant from corporal; and Deputies Bret Wallace and Peter Gosselin were promoted to corporals.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.