Valor Award 1970-1979

January 19, 1974

Trooper Austill helped chase a vehicle carrying four suspects involved in an armed robbery in Fort Collins. During the pursuit, Trooper Austill’s Patorl car was hit with five shots fired by the suspects. Two of the shots went through the windshield and resulted in several cuts on Austill’s face and hands. Several times the suspects almost came to a stop over a crest of a hill, hoping Austill would come close enough for a kill. This chase and gunfire went on for 30 miles. The suspects crashed their car into a snow bank and were captured shortly thereafter by Trooper Austill.





June 7, 1974

Trooper Chavez stopped a motorist for a safety inspection violation 10 miles east of Salida on Colorado 50. The motorist said he did not have his registration and at the same time came up with a gun in his left hand. The motorist took the Chavez’s pistol, forced him to slide into the driver’s seat and across to the passenger side. The motorist instructed Chavez to handcuff himself, but during the procedure, Chavez was able to disarm the motorist. During the struggle a gun held by the motorist went off, a bullet striking Chavez in the hand and shoulder. After handcuffing the motorist, Trooper Chavez bleeding profusely, was able to secure help from a nearby highway department employee.



May 4, 1975

Trooper Madrid was working in the Blende area east of Pueblo when he was notified of a chase heading his way. Approximately one minute later, he saw a brown Chevrolet pickup chased by a Pueblo Police car. He pulled in behind the police car, which then passed the pickup to box it in. The pickup suddenly stopped, the driver exited the vehicle, took two or three steps, and pointed a pistol at the driver of the Police car. The suspect then said if the police officer did not back off, he would kill him. Madrid yelled for the suspect to drop the gun. The suspect turned and took aim at Trooper Madrid, who then fired one shot striking the suspect.



August 29, 1975

Trooper Smith was dispatched to provide backup assistance for Trooper Joe Cullyford. Cullyford had stopped a stolen vehicle four miles west of Agate on Interstate 70. Of the four people in the vehicle, two were wanted for armed robbery out of Montana, one was an escapee from a mental institution, and the forth, a female, was a runaway. When Cullyford approached the vehicle after Smith arrived, the occupant in the right front seat opened fire. Cullyford dove for cover in front of the vehicle. The suspect started firing through the windshield at Cullyford. Smith returned fire at the gunman who was subsequently killed along with one of the passengers. Neither officer was injured.



May 8, 1976

Lieutenant Wheeler helped rescue a hostage. The drama began with a note left in a Kit Carson restroom by a woman held hostage by two suspected bank robbers from Louisiana. At a roadblock one suspect put a gun under the woman’s ear, and told officers “If you don’t get out of here, I’ll shoot her.” The Troopers backed off. The vehicle was again stopped at the edge of Hugo, and the occupants were ordered out of the car. The driver surrendered, but the other suspect continued to hold the hostage at gunpoint. Wheeler disarmed himself and offered to the hostage’s place. The end result was that a pack set was given to the gunman, and he started west. He was eventually shot and killed by an FBI agent.



May 18, 1976

Trooper Hammons was dispatched t a rest area south of Fort Collins on Interstate 25 to investigate a possible drunken driver. Hammons found a Larimer County Deputy already on scene. Both officers approached the suspect’s car and asked the driver to step out of the vehicle for a roadside sobriety test. Without warning, the driver pulled a gun and fired one shot in the direction of the officers. Hammons yelled, “Hold it.” When the suspect failed to obey his command, Hammons shot the suspect twice, wounding him in the hand and jaw. The suspect survived and was sentenced to a lengthy prison term. At the time of the stop, the suspect was wanted on three felony warrants out of Phoenix, Arizona.



July 31, 1976

Trooper Littlejohn was sent to Drake to stop all westbound traffic because of a mudslide in the Big Thompson Canyon. He soon had 75 people milling around arguing to proceed. One family was very insistent on going a few miles up the road to the Waltonia Hotel. He stood firm and didn’t let them go, which probably saved their lives since the motel was swept away in the flash flood. He guided a mother trapped in a house to safety. He then rescued an elderly man stuck in a jeep and kept him from walking in the water to look for his wife. When isolated by the destroyed highways, he continued his rescue efforts of the people stranded in the canyon.



July 31, 1976

Trooper Miller was on routine patrol around Drake when he was dispatched to investigate a rockslide four miles east of Estes Park. Shortly after he arrived, a 30 foot wall of water washed across the road some distance away. Realizing the urgency of the situation and the severity of the storm, he helped people move to higher ground. When his Patrol car became disabled, he joined a Sheriff’s officer in warning people of the impending danger and helped care for the injured.




July 31, 1976

Sergeant Purdy, during the evening of the Big Thompson Flood, gave his life in the preservation of the lives of others. He warned of the wall of water coming down the Big Thompson Canyon, giving them time to get out of the way before they were overtaken by the disaster. His early decision to turn cars around at the Narrows probably saved the lives of the Troopers and those stopped there. He kept driving into imminent peril because he believed two of his officers were in danger and that he must warn the public of the flash flood. As he raced through the canyon, his last radio message was to begin evacuation further down due to the immense torrent. His award was presented posthumously to his wife and children.



May 29, 1977

Trooper Havens was patrolling Arapahoe Road with Cadet Ian Smith when he clocked a speeding car. The vehicle did not stop in response to Haven’s overhead lights, so he pulled along to the left side of the car to get the driver’s attention. It was then that a bullet from a high powered rifle penetrated the right front door of the Patrol car. One fragment struck Cadet Smith in the stomach and another struck Havens in the leg. As Havens continued the pursuit from behind, he ascertained that Cadet Smith was not seriously injured, then fired several rounds at the fleeing vehicle. The pursuit continued north of Colorado Boulevard where the fleeing car was involved in a crash. Trooper Havens stayed at the scene and assisted in the arrest and investigation.



November 11, 1978

Trooper Mattie stopped a vehicle for speeding five miles north of Walsenburg. The driver shot at Mattie after he approached the car and asked for registration. One of the bullets hit Mattie in the left forearm. He took cover, returned to his Patrol car, and pursued the vehicle Northbound. He broadcasted a description of the vehicle as he continued his pursuit. Mattie again came under fire from the car, but this time by a high powered rifle. The suspects escaped at the time but were arrested the next day. They were wanted for murdering an elderly lady in Commerce City.