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Off-duty officer’s heroic actions, quick thinking save man’s life after horrific crash

Updated: Apr. 23, 2021 at 8:59 AM CDT
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PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - An off-duty police officer in Pascagoula is being hailed as a hero after he saved a man’s life last month, being in the right place at the right time to be able to help. His quick actions and calm head are now the reason the other man is still alive.

Det. Justin Cagle was driving home from work March 16th after a long shift at the Pascagoula Police Department when, right before his eyes, a driver lost control of his truck, flipped and crashed into a tree on Highway 90 between the bridges.

This still, taken from Det. Justin Cagle's body cam, shows the wreckage. The detective is...
This still, taken from Det. Justin Cagle's body cam, shows the wreckage. The detective is credited with saving the driver's life after he fashioned a tourniquet around the victim's severed arm.(Pascagoula Police Dept.)

Cagle quickly sprang into action, pulling over and running to help the man, whose arm had been severed in the crash.

“There was blood everywhere,” recalled Cagle. “I see his arm and I could tell that it was a pretty bad injury. So I run back to my truck - I keep a tourniquet in my driver’s side door - and I grabbed the tourniquet and I run back. I tell the guy, ‘This is going to hurt,’ because a tourniquet is made to stop the bleeding.”

Getting that tourniquet on as quickly as he did helped slow the bleeding, allowing the man to live long enough to get emergency medical help at the hospital.

The wrecked truck rests next to the tree with scattered debris all around.
The wrecked truck rests next to the tree with scattered debris all around.(Pascagoula Police Department)

Now, seeing the fresh marks on the tree where the truck hit, the detective said the scene vividly replays in his mind.

“You can still see the tire marks from where he came across the highway,” said Cagle, pointing to the marks on the tree and the road. “He flipped here and kind of went this way and then landed against the tree. That’s actually, I think, some of his clothing from the bed of his truck still in the tree.”

Pascagoula Police Det. Justin Cagle points to where the truck went off the roadway, saying it...
Pascagoula Police Det. Justin Cagle points to where the truck went off the roadway, saying it went on to flip and hit a tree. The detective is credited with saving the driver's life after tying a tourniquet on the victim's severed arm.(WLOX)

After the driver was transported to Singing River Hospital, Cagle continued his commute home, shaken from the trauma he had just assisted with and worried about the victim. Then, he received a phone call from the department that put his mind at ease.

Pascagoula Police Det. Justin Cagle says he was just at the right place at the right time last...
Pascagoula Police Det. Justin Cagle says he was just at the right place at the right time last month and that he was only doing his job when he rushed to help save man whose arm was severed in a crash.(WLOX)

“The dispatcher called me on the phone and said, ‘Hey, the guy from Acadian called and said what you did saved that guy’s life,’” recalled Cagle. “Just knowing that I did that, it’s unspeakable. In my eyes, I feel like I was just doing my job.”

Pascagoula Mayor Dr. Steve Demetropoulos presented Det. Cagle with a life-saving award and a proclamation from the city at this week’s city council meeting, honoring the officer for his heroic and quick actions.

🖤💙🖤 Please help us CONGRATULATE Detective Justin Cagle on receiving a LIFE SAVING award and proclamation from City of...

Posted by Pascagoula Police Department on Wednesday, April 21, 2021

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