Following a wreck that could have been fatal, a State Police Trooper from the Lowell post was honored with the Bronze Star for putting her life in jeopardy to save another.
Indiana State Trooper Nicole Maenza was honored for meritorious service and heroism on Friday in Indianapolis by Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas Carter and the Indiana State Police Board, according to a news release from the Indiana State Police.
“Trooper Maenza’s courage and bravery inspires all of us. She upholds and exemplifies everything the Indiana State Police stands for,” Lieutenant Terry Gose, Commander of the Lowell Post, said.
At 4:40 a.m. March 7, Maenza was investigating a multiple vehicle crash on southbound Cline Avenue at the Interstate 80/94 eastbound ramp.
The ramp was slick and covered in snow, becoming overrun with vehicles crashing at interstate speeds. At the time Maenza was working on one of the crashes she saw a Ford Expedition hit a barrier wall further down the ramp.
Maenza immediately went to the crash site to check on the occupants and two men got out of the car. She told to get back into their car for safety reasons after she assessed them for injuries.
Before the men could get to safety, a Hyundai Sonata came barreling towards them, driving out of control and hit Maenza and the two men.
A man who was severely injured said he remembers Maenza grabbing him to warn him of the oncoming car just before getting hit. In a letter of appreciation following the wreck, he said Maenza's actions probably saved him from worse injury.
When other troopers arrived at the scene, it was said Maenza was unaware of her own injuries, instead expressing concern for the two men who were also hit.
The three were taken to a local hospital and Maenza was admitted to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.