“Dear Detective Ben Campbell.
Today, I lost control of my car and did a 180 on I-95 South. I was shaken up, but otherwise fine. I called 911 and requested help in getting turned around on the busy highway.
You stopped to help me. You took my ID as per the standard. You came back to return it. You wore one of the warmest smiles I’ve ever seen. A smile that, without words, could give the world a moment of peace were it to look upon. I honestly felt safer in that moment as you stood by my driver’s side window.
That changed. In a split second, I saw your smile turn to the briefest shade of concern as a logging semi came over the hill, before a tire came into my peripheral vision.
I blacked out. My first and only thought upon waking up was ‘I’ve died, haven’t I?’ I couldn’t see anything but bright white light. Then my ears began ringing. I was able to open my eyes. My glasses partly crushed as I lifted my head before they fell off. My airbag had deployed. You weren’t beside me anymore…
I stumbled out of my car, moving to the other side of the guard rail to avoid anything else hitting me.
That’s when I saw you. Two tires had fallen off the truck. One struck my car, the other struck you.
Out of breath and still dizzy, I came to your side, pleading for you to wake up. You responded with a sound so haunting, I don’t dare describe it out of respect.
My mind raced. It had been years since I had any formal CPR training, and I was afraid that if I touched you without knowing just how bad you might be hurt, I’d just make it worse. I began waving and jumping up and down at oncoming traffic, desperately trying to get others to stop and help.
I leaned over you as another trooper and the driver of the semi came to help.
I looked into your eyes
You looked back
And then… You were gone…
The news reports you died in the hospital, but I knew in that moment, it was over…
I should have died twice today. I survived a high-speed spinout. When death came for me a second time, you were there. You traded your life for mine in the line of duty.
I vow for as long as I live, I will never forget your smile. I will never forget your kindness. I will never forget your sacrifice.
I owe you a debt I don’t think I can repay.
Rest in peace. May your soul find tranquility.”
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