Clarence “CJ” Williams, a Master Patrol Officer for the City of Cairo Georgia died while on duty. Both the Cairo Police Department and the GBI are investigating his death.
The City of Cairo Georgia Police Department posted on their facebook page, that he “passed away while on-duty yesterday afternoon, serving the community he so loved. He joined the department in 2020 and quickly gained the respect and love of all that met him.”
The Officer Down Memorial Page posted, “Officer Williams was assisting a Grady County sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop in the area of 10th Street and Robinson Avenue. The subject fled the vehicle, and the officers pursued him. During the chase, Officer Williams collapsed and was unable to be revived.”
According to the Cairo Police Department, “CJ was the type of person who genuinely cared about making a difference in our community and always approached his duties in that respect. His interest in our youth and his desire to become an officer in the city he grew up in is what stood out the most and is one of the reasons why he became a member of the department.”
Some news agencies are reporting that details relating to the cause of his death are not being released. While others state that Clarence “CJ” Williams died from a sudden and unexpected medical issue during a foot pursuit.
Generally, exact details of a cause of death are not available until after a Medical Examiner completes their investigation.
Rest Easy Brother. Prayers for his family of both blue and blood.
Not all heroes wear capes: Officer uses screwdrivers as oars to get to downed pilot in frozen lake
EDGEWATER, MD – An elderly man who was flying his Piper Cherokee got into trouble and crashed the plane in Ann Arundel County. A police officer and two citizens in the area responded to the crash and saved the pilots, utilizing screwdrivers as oars on a kayak, and got the man to safety.
Video released by Anne Arundel County police showing officer Elizabeth Myers using a kayak to get out to help pilot Steve Couchman who had just crashed a single engine plane into Beards Creek. @AACOPD pic.twitter.com/vRwyuDOSZ8
— Paul Wagner (@paulcwagner) December 27, 2022
On December 26th, 71-year-old Steve Couchman took off from Lee Airport in a single-engine Piper Cherokee. While things started off as a normal flight for Couchman witnesses reported hearing the engine of the plane sputtering and crashing into Beards Creek around 10:30 a.m.
An officer with the Anne Arundel County Police Department responded to the crash and teamed up with two people who happened to be nearby to launch a rescue effort for the pilot. The trio utilized kayaks that were in the area and used them to “skim across the iced creek.” According to a news release from the Maryland State Police:
“Two nearby civilians and an on-duty police officer from the Anne Arundel County Police Department who heard the call used three kayaks to skim across the iced creek to provide assistance to the pilot. While the plane was sinking, the pilot exited his plane and stood on the wing. Once the kayakers were close enough, the pilot was able to hang on to one of them to stay afloat.”
The two bystanders, who live in the area, happened to be a thirty-year Navy veteran, John Gelinee, and his son, John Gelinne, Jr, a current Marine. When they saw Couchman’s plane crash, they immediately jumped into action. Gelinne Sr told WTOP news:
“We saw the bottom of the aircraft, very close, and then it skipped and then went in the water…And so, we all scrambled out onto the patio there. We looked, and we saw [Couchman] in the water.”
WATCH: Anne Arundel County Police Officer Elizabeth Myers boards a kayak and uses screwdrivers to propel it forward on the ice, in an attempt to rescue 71-year-old crashed pilot Steve Couchman.https://t.co/l5G2EjX9sE
— WTOP (@WTOP) December 28, 2022
The father and son grabbed ahold of two kayaks and a shovel and got out onto the frozen creek. Gelinne Sr explained why the shovel was necessary by saying:
“You see, you can’t kayak with a paddle…So you have to get a shovel. And I use the shovel to just dig into the ice and just kind of slid the kayak.”
Elizabeth Myers, the officer from the Anne Arundel County Police Department, used a screwdriver in place of a shovel or an oar. In a video posted by the Anne Arundel County Police Department, you can see Officer Myers use the screwdriver to propel herself toward Couchman along with the caption:
“Oars don’t work on ice, but screwdrivers do!”
As Officer Myers and the Gelinnes got to Couchman, officers with the Maryland State Police and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police Department arrived at the crash scene on a boat. Maryland State Police said:
“Upon their arrival, an officer cut through the ice and pulled the pilot safely into the boat and transported him to the Annapolis Landing Marina nearby where the pilot was subsequently transported by ambulance to the hospital.”
Two kayakers pull 71 yr old pilot Steve Couchman from the icy waters of Beards Creek in Riva, Maryland after he crashed his single engine plane around 10:30 this morning. Couchman was taken to a nearby hospital with non life threatening injuries. pic.twitter.com/H3HGwJd0ZQ
— Paul Wagner (@paulcwagner) December 26, 2022
Couchman was transported to the Anne Arundel Medical Center where he is being treated for injuries he sustained in the crash. Police have not released any information as to Couchman’s status after his stay in the hospital.
Law Enforcement Today wants to take the time to thank both John Gelinne, Sr and Junior for their heroic and selfless acts in trying to help Couchman after the crash. Additionally, we want to recognize the extremely heroic actions taken by Anne Arundel County Police Officer Elizabeth Myers for her selfless actions in jumping onto a kayak and using a screwdriver to get to Couchman.