VICKSBURG, Mich. — Some people are calling Deputy Loren Tarner with the Van Buren Sheriff's Department a hero. His friends and family keep telling him how proud of him they are. During Sunday’s pileup on I-94 he checked in on drivers, making sure they were OK, after he was hit by a truck.
“I don’t necessarily know what all the hubbub's about,” said Tarner. “I mean it's part of my job.”
Tarner said he was checking on a family whose vehicle was pinned by a truck. Once he made sure they were OK, he saw a huge orange truck barreling toward him. He took off running but didn't escape in time. He was hit and said it was so strong that it felt like a force was carrying him. All he could think about though were the other people involved in the huge crash.
“I continued to give care to as many people as I possibly could until my sergeant told me that I had to stop,” said Tarner. “I told him that if I had to stop I was going to be done because it was so cold out there.”
Tarner said it was nine degrees that day and that initially he couldn’t feel anything. He was told to sit in the patrol car and call his family.
“I was told by my sergeant to call my wife and make sure that she knew that I was OK and that she didn’t hear on the news that there was a deputy hurt,” said Tarner who also called his son who was away at college.
It's in the patrol car where Tarner said he began to feel pain in his right leg. The next day he went to the doctor's office and found out nothing was broken but he has to wear a cast. But coincidentally he ran into the truck driver who hit him.
“He literally told his dispatcher that he was on the phone with that he thought he killed somebody,” said Tarner. “He saw me running beside the truck and he side I disappeared.”
Tarner ran but not far. He was focused on tending to the other drivers. Tarner said though all drivers should slow down when on the road especially during white-out conditions.
“You’re driving on ice most of the time,” said Tarner. “You have to slow down. And it's just, I hate to be the broken record but every single one of us [deputies] that you ever ask will say the same thing. It's just slow down.”