Sheriff shares resident’s gratitude for deputies’ service

YORK – York County Sheriff Paul Vrbka says he wants to share a message of gratitude he received, stating how two relatively new deputies with the department went above and beyond the call of duty and their service was instrumental in saving lives.

“On Sunday, Oct. 1, there was a very serious accident in the county,” Sheriff Vrbka explained. “It was about 11:48 a.m., when York County Emergency Communications received a crash detection alert via an Apple iPhone, notifying authorities of a possible car crash. York County deputies responded to the intersection of Road 2 and Road N and located a two-vehicle injury accident involving a semi-truck and trailer and a Dodge pickup.”

Two people were seriously injured, Sheriff Vrbka said.

They were later identified as Hunter Nebe of Geneva and Allen Clark of McCool Junction.

“The two were very seriously hurt and the deputies were there, alone, before EMS arrived,” Sheriff Vrbka explained. “We had two young deputies on the scene alone and they immediately had to start first aid. It was very traumatic. We, in law enforcement, aren’t medically trained like EMS responders are. We are trained to secure scenes, do investigations, assist in the EMS response. In this situation, these two young deputies were there alone for a time and it was up to them to do all they could to save the people who were hurt. Typically, at accident scenes, EMS is there first but in this situation, because of the way the call came in (via Apple crash alert), these deputies were there before anyone else and it was up to them until rescue arrived.”

Sheriff Vrbka said the deputies were Alexa Nichols and Luke Smeidir.

“It’s my understanding they were instrumental in helping the save the life of at least one of the people who were hurt and I couldn’t be more proud of them,” the sheriff said.

That pride was only enhanced when he received a message from an individual in the McCool area, who had been at the scene as a first responder. Sheriff Vrbka said he wanted to share that message, because the public doesn’t always realize what law enforcement, firefighters and medical first responders do in their line of service.

“And in today’s world, we need a little positive sentiment and praise for a job well done. Sometimes we need to hear something positive rather than the negative,” the sheriff said further.

The message he received and later shared said: “I wanted to reach out and make sure your deputies were OK after a tough call  today. They went above and beyond. The one driver owes his life to their timely response. It was a very hard circumstance to control and maintain scene safety. I am honored to serve along such dedicated officers. We couldn’t have done it without them. Please pass along my gratitude. York County is a better place to live because of their services.”

Both individuals had been ejected and life-saving measures were necessary for both. Nebe was life-flighted to Bryan LGH West in Lincoln while Clark was transported first to York General and then Bryan LGH West.

Responding to the scene, along with the deputies, were fire and rescue teams from McCool Junction and York.

“I just want to put it out there how proud I am of all our deputies and everyone in our department, as well as of all first responders,” Sheriff Vrbka said. “There are sometimes really hard calls and there are some like these where they are called to go above and beyond. We have great people making York County even greater.”







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