The Lafayette Police Civil Service Commission awarded police officer Michael Odom the Gold Merit Award for his life-saving actions from an incident on Jan. 18.
Odom responded at 12:26 a.m. to a local hospital to assist a male suffering from a mental health crisis, police said in a news release Thursday. The patient ran from the hospital and began running toward Interstate 65.
He eventually made his way onto the interstate, where traffic was heavy, police said. Odom recognized that the male’s life and the life of motorists on the interstate were in danger. He then climbed a barbed-wire fence and began running after the male in the northbound travel lanes.
Odom eventually caught him near the 171-mile marker, where the male went down on the shoulder of the interstate. As Odom went to detain him, he saw an oncoming semi-truck that had drifted onto the shoulder of the road. He quickly dragged the male out of the way of the oncoming semi seconds before it passed them.
"If it were not for the actions of Officer Odom, he and the male would likely have been struck by the oncoming vehicle," the news release said. "Officer Odom placed himself in danger of serious injury or death to save the man’s life."