July 19, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

LAPD Veteran Recommended to Be Awarded for Christmas Day Heroism

 

Donald Thompson will be honored for his heroic actions.
Donald Thompson was recommended for the “agency’s highest honor for heroism.”

A 26-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department who risked his life pulling a 72-year-old man from a burning vehicle on Christmas day is being recommended for the agency’s highest honor for heroism.

Donald Thompson, who”`without hesitation,” leapt over a pair of concrete dividers and rushed to the man’s aid, “went above and beyond the call of duty in his efforts to remove the unconscious accident victim and save his life,” Chief Charlie Beck wrote in a memo urging the Los Angeles Police Commission to give the officer the “medal of valor.”

“The courageous and selfless actions of Officer Donald Thompson reflect the highest standards of the Los Angeles Police Department and the city of Los Angeles,” Beck said. “His bravery, decisiveness and life-saving actions are undoubtedly deserving of the department’s highest award for valor.”

The commission is scheduled to discuss the recommendation at today’s board meeting.

Thompson was on his way to work when he saw a northbound vehicle slam into the center divider and catch fire on the southbound San Diego (405) Freeway south of the Ventura (101) Freeway just before 2 p.m. on Dec. 25.

Thompson stopped his bomb squad truck, jumped over the center dividers and ran to render aid. He cut the seat belt and freed the unconscious driver as flames began to envelope the front-seat compartment.

With the help of two people who stopped to assist, Thompson pulled the victim, who weighed about 200 pounds, out of the burning car.

“Within moments, the entire vehicle was fully engulfed in flames as Officer Thompson and citizens remained with the driver,” according to an LAPD statement.

The man is suspected of having been driving under the influence of drugs, and possible charges were pending, the California Highway Patrol said at the time. He was taken to a hospital for treatment of moderate injuries, police said.

Thompson, who suffered first- and second-degree burns to his hands and a leg, as well as smoke inhalation and abrasions, was treated at the scene and later received additional treatment at an urgent care facility.

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