Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sheriff helped officer in the moments after the collision

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At 3:39 p.m. April 29, Montgomery County Police Officer Jason Cokinos radioed police to report he had struck a pedestrian with his police cruiser.

‘‘When the first call went out, he was so excited you couldn’t really understand what it was, then [the county police] dispatcher sent a Signal 13 — officer in need of assistance call — and about 30-40 seconds later he got back on the air and said he had struck a pedestrian,” Deputy Sheriff Keith Naff said.

Naff, a nine-year veteran of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, was headed to Clarksburg in a marked sheriff’s cruiser when he heard the call. He knew that given his location, he would be the first person on the scene, he said.

‘‘It was just a fluke I was in the area — it turned out to be a good thing,” Naff said.

Naff arrived within two minutes after Cokinos’ call went out, he said. The next officer and a fire and rescue crew arrived several minutes after that, he said.

When Naff got to the scene, Luis Jovel, 12, was lying on the ground ‘‘maybe 5 or 6 feet away” and parallel to Cokinos’ cruiser, Naff said.

Luis had a faint pulse and was breathing, but had ‘‘lots of bleeding from the head and some other injuries, he was unconscious,” Naff said.

He got out of his car and ran over to assist. Cokinos had already taken a first-aid kit from his car and was applying bandages to the child’s head wounds, trying to get the bleeding to stop, Naff said.

Naff described the officer as ‘‘very, very calm and doing an excellent job with the first aid. He was upset of course ... [but] he was calm, in control, focused on the kid, doing first aid.”

The accident occurred outside Luis’ house.

‘‘The kid’s father was there and as you can imagine, he was extremely upset,” Naff said, adding it was ‘‘extremely difficult” because the father wanted to pick up his child.

The officers advised Luis’s father not to move him.

The police department’s collision reconstruction unit interviewed Naff on the scene, he said.

Capt. John Damskey, head of the county police special operations division, expects the collision investigation will be completed within the next few weeks.

The child remained in critical but stable condition at the hospital on Tuesday morning.