Wrightwood, California Deputy Named AMW All-Star Finalist
Cited for Heroic Actions at the Scene of a Deadly Car Accident
A life-saving lawman from California, whose heroic actions at the scene of a head-on collision and support of a teen's inspiring recovery, has been chosen as a finalist in the 2011 America's Most Wanted All-Star Contest, sponsored by Sprint.
Deputy Sheriff Stan Bennett of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department is the third weekly finalist chosen by the public through online voting in the contest, which honors the work of first responders.
On the night of September 16, 2010 Deputy Bennett was driving home from his son's Cross Country meet when he witnessed a pickup truck drift into oncoming traffic and slam into a car head-on. Without hesitation, Stan immediately took control of the accident scene, calling dispatch for assistance and directing another witness to manage traffic.
When Stan approached the totaled vehicles, he saw that the teenage passenger in the car was still breathing, but unfortunately the boy's older brother had died from the impact.
As they waited for paramedics and California Highway Patrol, Stan kept his cool while caring for both the teenager and the pickup truck driver, who had also survived.
He made sure they remained calm, and he covered the young teen with warm clothing to keep him from going into shock.
Stan says what bothers him about that night is that he never had the opportunity to try to save the older brother. But there is no doubt that his presence and quick thinking prevented further tragedy.
Stan later befriends the surviving brother's family, and he discovered the teenager had been on his way home after running in the same track meet he had attended.
The crash had badly broken the femur bone in the boy's leg, and Stan worried he would never be able to run again.
So Stan encouraged the teen to train with him after he completed physical therapy, and they now run together almost every day with a local running program called the Hyperformers.
"Every time I see him running," Stan says, "It brings a smile to my face."
The mother of the two brothers nominated Stan for the All-Star contest not only for the help he gave at the scene of the accident, but also for being a continuous source of support for her family.
Since January, Stan's teenage friend has continued to improve his running ability and he has recently rejoined his school's track team.
Deputy Bennett is the third of eight weekly finalists to be chosen by the public in this year's AMW All-Star Contest. Any member of the public can nominate and vote for their favorite first-responder online. The nomination process is simple: Go to AMW.com to fill out a short form naming your top choice and explain what makes this person an All-Star.
Each weekly finalist will be profiled on America's Most Wanted (Saturdays, 9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT on FOX). Through online votes, the public will choose the grand-prize winner. In May, AMW Host John Walsh will present the 2011 AMW All-Star winner with a check for $10,000 at a ceremony in Washington DC and the winner will receive a trip to the NASCAR SPRINT Cup Series All-Star Challenge at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Nominations are open at AMW.com until noon (ET) on April 2, 2011. Members of the public may vote for their favorite first responder once a day, every day. Finalist voting runs through midnight April 10th. Grand-prize winner voting will run April 21st through May 8th.
Please visit AMW.com/allstar for more information.