Alaska trooper named 2001 Trooper of the Year

Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Alaska State Trooper Larry Erickson has been named the 2001 Trooper of the Year.

Erickson beat out three other candidates for the national award.

''In my mind this speaks to the quality of the men and women who serve the people of the great state of Alaska. We are a small force in comparison to many other states, but the quality of our troopers is unsurpassed,'' said Commissioner Glenn G. Godfrey, Department of Public Safety.

Erickson was off-duty last July when he was flagged down by a passing motorist who saw Annie R. Ketzler, 25, hit a parked car.

He was the first officer to get to the crash scene and saw a car 20 feet off the bank of the Chena River. A woman was stumbling toward him in waist-deep water. Witnesses said a baby was in the car.

Erickson waded into the water and cut the child out of her restraints, pulled her from the car and brought her to shore. The child had no pulse so he started breathing air into her lungs. Another trooper started chest compressions. The pair worked on the child until she started breathing.

The mother, who was fleeing police when she crashed, was charged with assault, driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident.

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