Five West Central Illinois police officers were presented valor and life saving awards today in Springfield by the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police.
Those receiving FOP Valor Awards were Chapin Police Chief Steven Helmich, who is also a part-time South Jacksonville Police officer; Pike County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Lowry, who is also a part-time Meredosia Police officer; Pike County Sheriff’s Deputy Skylar Lambeth; and Brown County Sheriff’s Deputy Rusty Richard. Pike County Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Williams received the FOP Life Saving Award.
On March 26th, Meredosia police attempted to pulled over Daniel Payne from Tennessee for a traffic stop but he fled, leading officers from several jurisdictions on a high-speed chase through Morgan, Pike, and Brown Counties. Payne crashed his car in Brown County during the pursuit and as officers approached the vehicle he opened fire, starting a gun battle with officers during which Helmich was critically wounded.
Officers Lowry, Richard and Lambeth were able to subdue Payne, and then immediately rendered emergency assistance to Helmich. Deputy Williams arrived on scene with a field tourniquet and applied it to Helmich, which is credited with helping to save Helmich’s life.
Payne is still being held on $1 million bond at the Schuyler County Jail. Payne will be arraigned on attempted murder charges on July 6th in Brown County Circuit Court.
Helmich, a resident of South Jacksonville, is still undergoing treatment but hopes to resume being a law enforcement officer later this Fall.