City Council honors officers who saved mother, son from drowning

Published 7:01 pm Wednesday, November 7, 2007

City Council honors officers who saved mother, son from drowning
By Jeremy Pittari/Item Staff Writer
Picayune’s City Council took a moment from its meeting last night to honor three law enforcement officers who rescued of a woman and her ten year-old son.
On Oct. 22, Mindy Lauer and her son, Beau Baker, were on their home from Hattiesburg after purchasing a puppy for Baker’s birthday. Between exits 6 and 4 on Interstate 59 Lauer said she that she hit a “wall of water” causing her car to hydroplane and leave the road where it flipped upside down in the median, submerging both her and her son in the deep storm water collected in the median.
Picayune Police officer Devan Williams saw the car leave the road and flip upside down into the water. Lauer said she knew to roll the windows down to equalize the pressure in the cabin of the car.
“Because of me rolling the windows down the water came in faster,” Lauer said.
The first to be pulled out of the submerged vehicle was Baker by Williams. Lauer was pulled out shortly afterwards by Pearl River County Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Penton and Picayune Police officer Michael Petree. After they pulled Lauer from the car, she was reunited with her son.
For their bravery and efforts to save the lives of Baker and Lauer, the three law enforcement officers were honored by the Picayune City Council with Life Saver Awards.
Baker was presented with a Picayune Police Officer’s badge identifying him as an Auxiliary Jr. Officer of department.
The police department is adding another motorcycle. This addition will make room for four motorcycle officers. Maj. Ricky Frierson presented a request to the city council to allow the department to purchase a 2008 Harley Davidson cruiser to help patrol the streets. It will be added to the patrol division, which already has three 2007 Harley Davidsons.
The funds to purchase the motorcycle will come from Special Police Drug Fund at no cost to the city, Frierson said. Use of those motorcycles will save the department and the city thousands of dollars in expenses. Frierson said the average gas mileage for one of the motorcycles is about 38 miles per gallon, compared to the 14 miles per gallon for patrol cars. The purchase price of a motorcycle is less than that of a patrol car, Frierson said, at $14,700 for a stock motorcycle. Adding police equipment will cost $3,800. The council approved the department’s request.
With the heavy rain that occurred Oct. 22, about 60 homes were flooded in the city. One was Jeff Hensiek’s. He had approached the city council only days before that storm concerning his home having suffered from flooding multiple times in the past. During the storm his house flooded again. The council asked Hensiek to contact City Manager Ed Pinero, Jr., the next day to set up a meeting so Pinero could go to Hensiek’s home and evaluate the drainage situation.
In other business the council:
— Approved the Police Department’s request to apply for a State Law Enforcement Homeland Security Grant.
— Approved a request from the Picayune Fire Department to apply for a Homeland Security Grant.
— Approved the appointment of Martha Ford to the Planning Commission to replace Nancy Durham.
— Approved a request from Thomas Necaise to hold the 18th annual Toys for Tykes motorcycle run on Dec. 8, at 11 a.m. to begin at the National Guard Armory in Picayune.
— Approved a request from Tonya Barnum to hold a can shake on Nov. 10, at the intersection of U.S. 11 and Third Street from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. to raise funds to represent Center Stage School of Dance at a competition at Disney World Florida.
— Accepted a bid of $718,985 for two class A custom Fire Apparatus Pumpers from Pearce Manufacturing Inc. Fire Chief Keith Brown said insurance payments will pay for those fire trucks.
— Appointed Doug Lee to replace Steve Lawler for the remainder of his term as a member of Partners for Pearl River County.
— Approved the variance to allow for parking spaces at the Holiday Inn Express to be changed from 10×20 to 9×20.
The City Council meets next at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20.