Former Portage officer helps save woman after crash

2012-10-03T17:15:00Z 2012-10-03T19:44:36Z Former Portage officer helps save woman after crashBy Joyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

Former Portage police officer Bill Smith doesn't consider himself a hero despite being credited with saving a woman's life this past weekend in his new home city, Fishers, Ind.

Smith, an 11-year-veteran of the Portage Police Department, was on routine patrol late Sunday morning in Fishers, where he's worked for the last year.

Smith said he was behind an SUV when the driver made a left turn, drove up on a guardrail and then flipped the vehicle, which landed driver's side down in a creek.

At first, said Smith, the water wasn't very deep, but then began seeping into the vehicle.

"I started trying to break out the windshield," Smith recalled, first using a rock, then a trailer hitch and finally an ax given to him by an off-duty firefighter who came on the scene.

Smith said he finally broke the windshield enough to reach into the vehicle and hold the woman's head above water until she was extricated.

Smith, who visited the driver in the hospital after the accident, said he's not sure what caused the accident.

He said he's surprised with the attention he's received since Sunday, including being interviewed by Indianapolis television stations, but says he's taking it in stride.

"I'd been at some really critical incidents when I worked in Portage," he said, adding many times those incidents didn't received much attention.

"When I climbed up out of the embankment, there was a TV camera filming," said Smith.

Smith received a departmental lifesaving award while he was on the Portage department for rescuing a woman during an apartment fire and was twice named the Portage department's officer of the year. For much of his tenure on the Portage department, Smith served as a canine officer with his partner, Fax.

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