After risking his own life to pull an injured driver from his burning wrecked car, Trooper Darin Fehlhafer is receiving one of the Washington State Patrol’s highest accolades.
On June 10, 2016, Trooper Fehlhafer noticed the erratic driving of black Mercedes heading eastbound on I-90 at milepost 78. The trooper attempted to overtake the car. The driver of the car, Chase C. Sukert of Cle Elum, was traveling at 122 mph when his car slammed into a semi-tractor trailer parked alongside the freeway. The force of the collision caused the Mercedes to catch fire. Trooper Fehlhafer jumped into action and pulled Sukert, who was severely injured, from the burning car to safety.
Sukert was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with critical injuries. At the time of the collision, Sukert was out on a $750,000 bail for drug charges and being an accessory in the 2015 beating of South Dakota Trooper Zachary Bader.
On October 24, 2015, Sukert, and at least two other passengers were stopped by Trooper Bader on I-90 in Rapid City, South Dakota. During the routine traffic stop, the suspects attacked Trooper Bader and left him in a nearby ditch before fleeing the scene. Trooper Bader has since recovered and returned to duty.
The case is still on-going in South Dakota.
Trooper Fehlhafer will receive the “Award of Merit” at a special ceremony on November 17, 2016. The “Award of Merit” is one of the highest accolades in the Washington State Patrol. It is given to an employee for endangering themselves in attempting a lifesaving action, preventing a serious crime, or affecting the arrest of a dangerous situation.
Join us live on Twitter tomorrow afternoon as WSP Chief John Batiste presents Trooper Fehlhafer with this prestigious award.
“I am proud of Trooper Fehlhafer for his quick and decisive actions which resulted in saving a severely injured man’s life,” said WSP Chief John R. Batiste.” The actions of this Trooper fulfill our core mission of making a difference everyday while enhancing the safety of our state roadways.”