Virginia Coalition of Police
and Deputy Sheriffs
September 2006 Officer of the Month - Trooper Jason R. Hypes (VA)
FROM the NLEOMF
The National Law Enforcement Officers
Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Trooper Jason R. Hypes of
the Virginia State Police as its Officer of the Month for September 2006.
Every so often a story of a police officer pulling a trapped person from a
burning car will come across the newswire. Vehicle fires themselves are highly
volatile and unpredictable and flames can consume a car in a matter of seconds
leaving a trapped motorist with only moments to escape. Such was the case for
Trooper Jason Hypes, who while responding to a distress call, came across a
vehicle engulfed in flames. The vehicle in question was another police cruiser
and Trooper Hypes would soon be fighting to free his partner from an inferno.
On October 1, 2005 a distress call came in to which Troopers Jason Hypes and
P.M. Taylor responded, each driving his own cruiser. In the lead, Trooper Taylor
crested a hill southbound on U.S. 301 at a high rate of speed and came upon a
Frog Level volunteer fire department emergency vehicle moving slowly about two
miles north of State Route 30. Trooper Taylor swerved to avoid striking the
emergency vehicle, however losing control his cruiser skidded counter-clockwise
288 feet across the road and down an embankment striking several trees along the
way. The cruiser immediately ignited leaving the trooper trapped inside.
Trooper Hypes, driving approximately 25 seconds behind Trooper Taylor, crested
the same hill and was confronted with the horrific sight of his partner's
cruiser totally engulfed in flames. Trooper Hypes rushed to assist the volunteer
firefighters as they attempted to extinguish the flames using a portable fire
Believing that there was not sufficient time to extinguish the fire, Trooper
Hypes concentrated on removing Trooper Taylor from the vehicle. Trooper Taylor's
seatbelt was jammed; making it impossible to vacate the burning vehicle. With
complete disregard for his own safety, Trooper Hypes approached the burning
vehicle and used his ASP baton to break out the driver's side window. Trooper
Hypes cut the seatbelt and pulled Trooper Taylor from the cruiser just as the
department issued ammunition, located inside the trunk, began to explode.
Desperate to get himself and Trooper Taylor to safety, Trooper Hypes carried his
colleague to the opposite side of the roadway and immediately contacted
emergency personnel. Looking back the troopers saw that the vehicle was
completely engulfed in flames and the surrounding trees had ignited, making
access to the automobile totally impossible.
Trooper Taylor was flown to the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center
where he was treated and released the next day and thankfully has fully
recovered from the neck and shoulder injuries he sustained. With regard to his
colleague and friend, Trooper Hypes, Trooper Taylor stated, "He is an
extraordinary man. If he hadn't done what he did that day, quite frankly I
wouldn't be here."
On May 17, 2006, Virginia State Police Superintendent W. Steven Flaherty
presented Trooper Jason R. Hypes with the department's Award of Honor. The Award
of Honor is the highest award presented by the Superintendent, in recognition
for an extraordinary act of valor that includes jeopardizing one's own safety
and going above and beyond the call of duty.
Trooper Hypes, is 26 years old and has been with the Virginia State Police for
one year. He is married with no children. It was Robert Gordon, Executive Vice
President of the United Federation of Police and NLEOMF Board Member, who
nominated Trooper Hypes for this award.