Choosing to be a law enforcement officer, on occasion, can require those making that choice to place their own life in danger so that others may be saved. On Friday, January 09, 2015, Trooper Christopher J. Matos demonstrated this by placing his own life in harm’s way.
Trooper Matos, while off duty in his personal vehicle, was traveling west on John Green Smith Road in Lenoir County. Trooper Matos observed a passenger vehicle traveling east on John Green Smith Road, start to slide uncontrollably on the icy roadway. The passenger vehicle traveled off the roadway onto the right shoulder, overturned within a creek, and came to rest upright. Trooper Matos turned his vehicle around after observing the vehicle leave the roadway and proceeded to the collision scene. Upon arrival, Trooper Matos observed the passenger vehicle partially submerged within the creek, filling with water.
Without hesitation, Trooper Matos entered the frigid water to render aid. While in the water, Trooper Matos noticed the vehicle’s front passenger window had been partially rolled down. After swimming around to the passenger side of the vehicle, Trooper Matos assisted a 14 year old child out of the vehicle’s front passenger window. Trooper Matos then climbed partially within the vehicle and assisted the female driver in unbuckling her infant child from a child seat. Trooper Matos then removed the infant out of the vehicle and placed the child into the care of another motorist who had stopped to render assistance. The female driver was also removed from the vehicle by Trooper Matos and assisted to the bank.
Trooper Matos accompanied the mother and her two small children to a nearby home where they were treated by emergency medical personnel for mild hypothermia. The selfless actions of Trooper Matos and those who assisted assured the safety of the mother and her small children.