Cpl. Mark Hedrick
PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (April 16, 2012) — Two troopers currently or formerly assigned to Pulaski County received Missouri State Highway Patrol awards at a Saturday award banquet.
Cpl. Mark Hedrick, who was nearly run over by a fleeing car thief in November and had to shoot the car thief after a car chase, received a meritorious service award for his actions. Lt. Steve P. Davis, who now serves in the Troop I headquarters in Rolla but previously served for many years in Pulaski County where his wife was the Crocker High School principal and he served in the Pulaski County Ambulance Board, has received the MASTERS Public Service Award for a variety of community service work.
Hedrick’s award was for his actions in the case of Daryl L. Eye, 49, of Licking, who had twice previously evaded state troopers. Hedrick was also named in February as one of four North America regional finalists for the International Association of Chiefs of Police/Motorola Trooper of the Year award.
Eye, who troopers said was “extremely dangerous and known as an avid woodsman” when they submitted Hedrick’s name for the IACP award, had been on the run for several days since Nov. 15 when, according to Hedrick’s award packet, Eye had fired a weapon into the home of his girlfriend.
According to information released last November by the state patrol, a trooper attempted to stop a stolen 2004 Chevrolet pickup in Texas County on Nov. 19 which troopers believed Eye had been driving; he was also suspected of stealing a 2000 Kia on Nov. 11, and was facing felony warrants for first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle and resisting arrest in Laclede County, as well as misdemeanor warrants in Dallas County for possession of marijuana and driving without a driver’s license.
Troopers said that on Nov. 19, Eye refused to stop and troopers pursued him on Route 32 from Texas County into Dent County. The police chase didn’t end until Eye “caused his vehicle to strike the front of the trooper’s cruiser, disabling the patrol vehicle.” Eye fled the area and troopers were not able to locate him that night.
About noon the next day, troopers received information that Eye might be on or near a county road north of Interstate 44 in western Pulaski County, and two troopers, Hedrick and another trooper, Nicholas A. Smith, with the assistance of Pulaski County Sheriff J.B. King, were able to locate Eye about 30 minutes later in the stolen Chevrolet pickup which was backed into a wooded area off Randolph Road about a mile west of Highway 7.
In an official report of the incident, troopers ordered Eye to show his hands but he refused to comply.
“He then accelerated and steered his vehicle toward the officers. In response, the troopers fired at the suspect with their patrol-issued rifles,” according to the report. “(Eye) then drove west on Randolph Road, while being pursued by officers, until the vehicle traveled off the left side of the road and stopped. At that time, the trooper observed the suspect moving around in his vehicle and brandishing a firearm. The trooper responded by firing his patrol-issued rifle at the suspect.”
Eye, who died at the scene, had a handgun in his possession with spent shell casings.
An autopsy conducted the next day and an investigation by the Division of Drug and Crime Control found that Eye “had shot himself as well as being shot by the trooper.” Troopers said he had “fired several rounds and brandished a firearm while inside the truck, causing Cpl. Hedrick to respond with gunfire.”
Additional information later presented to the IACP painted an even blunter picture of the danger faced by Hedrick and Smith.
Eye “engaged the transmission, spun the tires, and drove towards Corporal Hedrick in an effort to run him over. Corporal Hedrick fired his rifle into the front passenger’s side tire of the truck in an attempt to disable it, and as the driver swerved toward him, he again fired into the cab and moved to avoid being struck,” according to the IACP award documents.
Eye was able to get his truck back onto the road, resulting in a pursuit by Hedrick and Smith, but Eye soon crashed his pickup.
“After failing to negotiate a curve, the suspect then drove off of the roadway and struck a ditch. As he stopped his vehicle, Corporal Hedrick heard shots fired and ordered the suspect to show his hands,” according to the award documents. “Seeing a handgun in the suspect’s hand and fearing for his life and that of Trooper Smith’s, Corporal Hedrick fired at the non-compliant suspect who sustained mortal wounds.”
Col. Ronald K. Replogle, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, had strong praise for Hedrick after nominating him for the IACP award.
“Cpl. Hedrick's preemptive planning prepared both himself and Tpr. Smith for this violent confrontation,” said. “He drew upon his knowledge and experience as a law enforcement officer, and displayed true courage to end the threat to the safety of the people of Pulaski County. He is a credit to himself and to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.”
In the separate state patrol award for Davis, troopers called him “a living example of community service” who, while living and working in four of the six counties of the Troop I region, “became an integral part of his community through his local church, schools, and other civic organizations.”
That included supporting his three children’s teams as a coach or in fundraising efforts, managing a youth football team for many years, being instrumental in the implementation of a security team at his church which provides security and safe sanctuary during church events, serving as president of the Rotary Club of Rolla and as the Region 6 coordinator for Special Olympics of Missouri.
Davis’ law enforcement volunteer work includes the Barwick/Newton National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, which, according to his state patrol award documents, “is dedicated to supporting law enforcement families who have lost a loved one in the line of duty.”
According to award documents, “Davis works tirelessly for this organization, raising funds to ensure families of fallen officers are able to attend the national law enforcement memorial service in Washington, D.C.”