By Frank Lewis
Randy Hiles, president of Local 7330 of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA), says valiant efforts by several correction officers from Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) following a crash near the facility Monday night, comes as no surprise to him.
“The second shift had just gotten off work at 10 (p.m.) o’clock,” Hiles said. “Officers were going home and they were maybe a half mile from the prison headed for (U.S.) 23 and the gentleman who was killed (Jared Akin) went left of center and hit our officer (Jason Hamilton) head on. Our officers that were behind him jumped out. One of our officers (Mike Frankel) got in the seat behind our officer, Jason Hamilton, and kept his airway open. He held him until the EMTs got there, kept his airway open and saved his life.”
Hiles said Frankel was helped by other members of the SOCF team.
“He told one of the officers there he needed something to put on his (Hamilton’s) wound to control the bleeding,” Hiles said. “One of the officers outside just ripped his CO shirt off and gave it to him and he held it on the wound until the EMTs got there.”
Hiles said officers tried to help both drivers. However, one of the drivers, Jared Akin, died as a result of that crash. Hamilton remains at St. Mary’s Hospital in Huntington, West Virginia.
“Our officers jumped right in and this shows the caliber of officers that work at SOCF,” Hiles said. “When something bad happens you’re going to hear it. But you never hear anything good when it happens like these men jumping in there to save lives. Officer Hamilton was saved. The other gentleman (Akin) the officer (John Little) stayed with until the EMTs got there and held his hand. He ended up dying. It was a sad situation.”
In addition to Frankel and Little, Hiles said, Gary Hunley was also involved in the rescue efforts.
“There were others too who were controlling the traffic and making phone calls, getting the EMTs and calling the officers families,” Hiles said. “It seems like everyone on the scene was from SOCF.”
Hiles said the efforts speak volumes about the type of officers who work at SOCF.
“It just shows the high caliber of the people we have working at the prison,” Hiles said. “No matter what the situation, they’re going to jump in without consideration for their own safety. If they see somebody that is in need, and especially officer Frankel. I’ve known him for years. I worked with him at rec(reation) for years, and this is typical of him to crawl in the back seat and help the person out. And officer Little. He tried to save the other driver. My heart and prayers go out to the young man who was killed. I heard that both of these young men were Afghanistan veterans. So it’s sad the way it ended up.”
Hiles said the heroic efforts by the men involved in the aftermath of the crash is not the end of the story.
“Since officer Hamilton just started in December and since this happened, he has insurance but he doesn’t have any disability insurance. So any of the time he has off is on him. He doesn’t have any time to take for disability right now,” Hiles said. “But everybody at the prison just jumped in. They have a leave donation where people can donate sick time and leave time of their own and you wouldn’t believe the amount of people, administration and officers alike, that are giving him their leave time to make sure he’s covered, his time off will be paid and his family taken care of. They’ve given hundreds of hours.”
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.