On December 4, 2013, WSP Chief John Batiste presented the Award of Merit to Detective Robert Jones for his selfless and courageous action saving a motorist from their burning vehicle.
On June 17, 2013, Detective Jones stopped to offer assistance after observing a severe two car collision on southbound I-5 in King County. As he approached the scene, one of the vehicles erupted into flames. Jones saw one of the motorists, Edna Aguilar-Valladares, was incoherent in the burning vehicle and ran to help.
Jones placed himself in mortal danger of being burned when he used his portable radio to break out a window and pull Aguilar-Valladares free from the vehicle as it became fully engulfed in flames. Jones moved Aguilar-Valladares to a place of safety where he then called for medical assistance and provided first aid until the medics arrived. Jones sustained lacerations, abrasions, and bruising on his right hand, right middle finger, and forearm as a result of his actions and went to a hospital for treatment.
While being attended to by the hospital staff for his own injuries, Jones continued to monitor and check on Aguilar-Valladares throughout the night. If not for Jones’ selfless and courageous actions, Aguilar-Valladares would have perished inside the vehicle.