Medal of Valor Ceremony Honors Heroic Highway Patrol Troopers
At a ceremony on Wednesday in the office of Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, three heroic Montana Highway Patrol troopers were presented the ‘Award of Valor’ for conspicuous bravery in the line of duty.
MHP Public Information Officer Sergeant Jay Nelson provided details, starting with Trooper Alex Hiday, in relation to the March 15, 2019 shooting of fellow trooper Wade Palmer at the hands of Jonathan Bertsch.
“Trooper Hiday on March 15 of 2019, responded to the assistance of trooper Wade Palmer who was shot multiple times after locating a homicide suspect north of Missoula,” said Nelson. “Trooper Hiday responded soon thereafter and provided life saving medical attention to Trooper Palmer and removed him from the scene, where the suspect was still at large. Trooper Hiday continued to provide this life saving medical attention until Trooper Palmer arrived at the hospital. Trooper Hiday then responded back to the scene to help locate the suspect who was eventually brought into custody.”
The next trooper honored was Sergeant Wren, after an incident that occurred near Kalispell.
“The suspect was spotted by a Flathead County Sheriff's deputy,” he said. “The suspect did not stop for the deputy and was pursued by the Flathead County Sheriff's Office, Lake County Sheriff's Office and the Montana Highway Patrol. This pursuit ended on Highway 35 near Woods Bay in Lake County. Upon the pursuit ending, the suspect shot at the deputy and Sergeant Wren multiple times. Both Sergeant Wren and the deputy returned fire and eventually killed the suspect.”
The final recipient was Trooper Connor Wager, who rescued a woman who was trapped inside her upside down vehicle in a frigid river.
“Trooper Wager entered the near freezing river tethered to only a rope due to the fast moving current,” he said. “Trooper Wager had to hold on to the vehicle and then break through the rear window with a rescue tool. He eventually saved the driver of the motor vehicle and was able to pull himself and the driver back to the shore to safety.”
All three troopers received the Award of Valor, the highest award given by the Montana Highway Patrol.
The trooper that Hiday rescued, Wade Palmer, was himself twice presented with the Award of Valor.
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