Officer honored for saving man's life


Senior Police Officer William Locke holds the lifesaving award he received for pulling a man from a burning vehicle.


Staff Writer

Saturday, March 17, 2018

A Rocky Mount police officer recently was commended for his quick thinking on the job that saved a man from a burning vehicle.

Senior Police Officer William Locke, who works in the patrol services division of the Rocky Mount Police Department, was awarded with the city of Rocky Mount’s Life Saving Award from the Office of The Chief of Police.

“I would like to take this opportunity to commend you for your quick actions during what could have been a tragic event,” said interim Rocky Mount Police Chief Willie Williams. “Your significant act of service is well deserving. I commend you for a job well done.”

Locke’s heroic efforts took place on April 20, 2017, when he saved the life of Charles Sanders. Authorities said that around 10:44 p.m., Locke noticed a Jeep Cherokee SUV traveling east on Curtis Ellis Drive traveling in an erratic and reckless manner. 

Locke saw the SUV crash and overturn on the 2200 block of Curtis Ellis Drive. 

After he requested the assistance of the Rocky Mount Fire Department and Nash County Emergency Medical Services, Locke left his patrol car and went to the crashed vehicle that was resting on its passenger side. He could see flames coming from the engine compartment of the SUV as he approached the vehicle.

“I knew I had to react quickly and help the driver before the situation became dire,” Locke said.

Police said Locke told Sanders several times to come out of the vehicle because it was on fire. However, with Sanders unable to get out on his own, Locke entered the vehicle through the broken rear window to rescue Sanders from the vehicle.

Locke dragged Sanders from the SUV, back to his patrol vehicle and away from the burning vehicle. Sanders was later transported to Nash UNC Health Care, where he was treated for minor injuries and released.

“He did this knowing the risk he was taking before entering the vehicle,” Williams said.

Locke said he didn’t think too much of his heroic deed until his supervisor praised him for his action.

“I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, but he let me know what I did was amazing and very brave,” he said.

Locke, who has been with the police department for the past four years, earned a promotion to senior police officer at the beginning of the year.

“As an officer, it’s about doing your job for the greater good and protecting the people in the community,” Locke said.