Being hit by a car and thrown 50 feet off the interstate shortly before 2 a.m. may seem an odd way to earn a safety commendation. But for Centerville policeman Paul Child the alternative could have been worse: He could be dead.
Child was recently commended by the Centerville City Council for his actions on a traffic stop on I-15 April 4.According to Police Chief Jim Oswald, Child used good judgment and an informed sense of safety in choosing to approach a stopped car on the passenger side rather than the driver's side, which would have exposed him to oncoming traffic.
But in this case, another driver - who had apparently fallen asleep at the wheel - ran off the freeway, running into the back of the car Child had stopped. That car in turn hit Child, knocking him about 50 feet.
Although Child and the occupants of the cars were injured, investigators believe that if the officer had been on the driver's side instead of the passenger's side, he probably would have been killed.
"We feel that by your use of good judgment, and applying training that you have had, you turned a possible fatal incident into less serious injury," Oswald said in his letter of commendation.
"Do I have to get hit again to get another one?" Child asked as he picked up his commendation at a recent city council meeting.