Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington presented special life-saving awards to four Bossier Sheriff’s Office deputies and one young boy in a ceremony at the Bossier Parish Courthouse Tuesday morning.
“Today, we have great examples of knowing what to do, without hesitation, by people who jumped in and made a difference,” said Sheriff Whittington. “We have great examples of heroism, and I am grateful that we can take this time to recognize these folks who truly made a difference.”
In each case, someone stepped in to help save someone else’s life – a motorcycle crash where a women lost her leg, a man who was attempting suicide, a student who was choking, and a toddler who was saved after falling in a pool. All of these people are alive because of the actions these deputies and a young boy. “We are very proud of each and every one of you,” exclaimed Sheriff Whittington.
Four deputies received the Star of Valor award – the Sheriff’s Office highest award – and the young boy received the Hero Award to recognize exemplary actions by a member of the community.
Woman Saved During Motorcycle Crash
Back on March 18, Deputy Grayson Magee finished his shift at the Bossier Corrections Facility, and he approached the intersection of Old Plain Dealing Road and Highway 3. At that same time, patrol Deputy Clint Alexander approached the same intersection on the other side of the road. And then the crash happened right in front of them.
A husband and wife were riding their motorcycles when the lead motorcycle driven by the female was hit by another vehicle in a terrible crash. The female cyclist, Shelly Boudria, suffered a leg injury that resulted in a partial amputation. The other rider was her husband, Kelly Boudria, who was able to lay his bike down. He also suffered injuries, but not as seriously as his wife. Deputies Magee and Alexander went directly to the crash scene, assessed the situation, and quickly applied a tourniquet to Shelly’s leg to control the bleeding. She was later treated by Bossier EMS and fire department personnel and transported by Life Air Rescue for medical treatment. Their tourniquet proved to be life-saving. Other Bossier deputies also responded to the scene to assist.
In a letter from Assistant Fire Chief Wayne Weeks of Bossier Parish Fire District #7 to Sheriff Whittington, he said, “If these deputies did not apply the tourniquet immediately, this patient would have, in my opinion, not survived the injury, given the distance to the scene.”
Deputy Alexander, who’s worked with the Bossier Sheriff’s Office since 2018, said “God put me there for a reason.” He had just conducted a house check in Ivan and drove down Highway 160 at Highway 3. “For me to go all the way to Ivan and come back at that time, it happened for a reason,” said Alexander.
Deputy Magee, who’s also worked with Bossier Sheriff’s Office since 2018, says he had just waved at Alexander across the street when he approached the intersection. “As soon as he waved back, that’s when we saw the crash.” Magee, who played college football at Northwestern State University and formerly with the Desoto Parish Sheriff’s Office, said, “We do this job everyday with the hopes that we can make a difference, whether big or small.”
When Sheriff Whittington asked Shelly to speak during the awards presentation, the room with some 25 observers got real quiet.
“I am so thankful that they were there,” she said. “I know I wouldn’t be sitting here if they weren’t,” she said tearfully. “I just can’t thank them enough.”
Her husband Kelly is also a deputy with the Bossier Sheriff’s Office, something neither Deputies Alexander nor Magee were aware at the time of the crash. Dep. Boudria, school resource officer for W.T. Lewis, says he is so grateful for the support of phone calls, prayers and letters over the past few months. And it’s made them stronger.
“We felt the prayers, and they lifted us up,” Dep. Boudria said. “Through it all, it’s coming together one day at a time. We’re getting stronger together, stronger as a couple.”
Man Saved During Suicide Call
In the morning of May 26, a man in South Bossier on Johnson Koran Road attempted to take his life by cutting his wrist. Family members had contacted Bossier Sheriff’s Office dispatch to say he had taken a knife and cut his wrist open and that he was being combative and not letting anyone help him.
The nearest responding deputy was 15 minutes away. But there was another deputy who was working a side job, and that’s when Deputy Jared Vicento decided to take action. He was not on regular duty, but while working his extra duty job and monitoring radio traffic, he heard what was going on and immediately recognized the seriousness of the situation. He knew he was closer to the scene than patrol deputies on duty, so without hesitation, Dep. Vicento told dispatch that he was enroute from his side job to help the man.
When Dep. Vicento arrived on scene, he approached the man, who was bleeding profusely, noncompliant, and possibly armed. He was able to overpower the man and handcuff him to place him into protective custody so he couldn’t harm himself further or the deputy. Dep. Vicento, an Army veteran who has been with the Bossier Sheriff’s Office since 2013, saw that the man was bleeding out and immediately applied a combat tourniquet to his right arm, effectively cutting off further blood loss. Medics and the responding patrol deputy arrived about four minutes later, and the man was taken to Ochsner LSU Health emergency room, where doctors performed immediate surgery to repair his injury.
Dep. Tony Vandagriff was the responding deputy, and he said he was so impressed with Vicento recognizing the seriousness of the call and responding like he did.
“He voluntarily came on duty and knowingly placed himself in a potentially dangerous, life-threatening situation to save a life,” said Dep. Vandagriff, who previously practiced medicine for several years before becoming a deputy. He said Vicento’s tourniquet was textbook.
“In my opinion and the opinion of two South Bossier paramedics, Vicento’s correct application of the tourniquet saved this man’s life,” emphasized Dep. Vandagriff.
“God called me to serve this community, and I love what I do,” said Dep. Vicento. “It was stressful because I don’t like to see someone who doesn’t want to be here. But I told that man that he didn’t have a choice, that I was going to save him that day.”
Student Saved While Choking
It was Friday at lunchtime on April 12 when Deputy Jeremy Johnston, school resource officer for Benton Middle School, was monitoring sixth grade students enjoying meals in the cafeteria. He noticed one of the students get up and run to the trash can with his hands on his throat. Dep. Johnston quickly ran to where the boy was and noticed he was having a difficult time breathing. The boy was also a special needs student, and he had a hard time communicating with people. But Johnston, who has been with the Bossier Sheriff’s Office since 2007, knew exactly what to do.
He immediately initiated the Heimlich Maneuver to try and dislodge whatever was making this student choke. One time – nothing. A second time – nothing. Then with the third thrust, he heard a loud noise coming from the boy’s mouth. At that same time, he also saw that the boy had caught a piece of peach in his hand that had been lodged in his throat.
Dep. Johnston, a former college basketball player at Louisiana Tech University and Louisiana State University Shreveport, has seen some stressful situations, and he is grateful to have helped.
“It’s a great feeling,” he said. “We go into the schools every day and try to do our best in what we are trained to do. I was in the right place at the right time and was able to save the kid’s life.”
Sheriff Whittington noted, “Jeremy is one of our star SROs, and I’m very proud of him. He is a great example of jumping in and being prepared, knowing what to do, and saving a life.”
Toddler Saved in a Pool
Case Riche is a 7-year-old boy who was swimming with his sister back on June 2 at the Cypress Pointe Apartments while their grandfather sat close by. A two-year-old boy had accidentally gone into the water without his parents noticing. But young Case noticed, and he quickly dove down into the water to bring the little boy to the surface. A sister of the 2-year-old started screaming, and that alerted the parents. Case’s quick actions helped save this little boy in the pool.
Sheriff Whittington asked young Case, “Did you know you were a hero?” He replied, “Are you the judge?,” which drew laughter from the crowd gathered in the Sheriff’s conference room.
Young Case said he wasn’t nervous or scared, but rather, “I did it in action and saved him. I was happy when I was able to bring the little boy to safety.”
After saving the little boy, it wasn’t long before Case went on with his childhood activities…he went inside to play his X-Box.
“We know that stories don’t always end happily,” said Sheriff Whittington. “But these did, with the quick actions of these deputies and this young boy. Because of you, I enjoy working and living here in Bossier Parish.”