TowZone Posted March 16, 2018 Share Posted March 16, 2018 HYDE PARK - It was about 4 a.m. a week before Christmas and town Police Officer Christopher Miller had pulled over a motorist on Route 9 for speeding. While questioning the driver, Miller suspected he had been drinking and Police Officer Mike Plass arrived to provide backup. An arrest was made and Miller drove the suspect to headquarters. With the suspect’s car under impound, Plass remained at the scene of the arrest as Jeff Ledoux, owner of Just In Time Towing, put the vehicle on his flatbed tow truck. As Ledoux secured the car, Plass held a flashlight over his shoulder. That’s when, seemingly out of nowhere, a car came racing past and nearly struck Plass. In a flash, Ledoux grabbed Plass and pulled him out of the way of the car, whose driver was also allegedly driving drunk. “When that car goes by you and you feel that air and that suction so close to your body — that was quite a rude awakening,” said Plass, a part-time officer. “That’s a shocking experience to say the very least.” Ledoux was honored at a Feb. 26 Hyde Park Town Board meeting by town officials and the town's Police Benevolent Association, for saving Plass’s life. At the gathering, Plass thanked Ledoux. “I said ‘Thank you for being you and thank you for being the tow truck driver at the scene,’ ” Plass said. Police Lt. Robert Benson called Ledoux’s quick thinking, “A heroic effort.” And Benson speaks from experience. Some 20 years ago, he was at an accident scene and a motorist drove around a traffic stop and never slowed down. “I stood waving my hands,” Benson said. “He came right at me.” The car’s driver-side mirror struck Benson and knocked him to the ground. The driver was arrested and, like the driver that nearly hit Plass, charged with driving while intoxicated. Speaking of Plass, Benson said. “I know what he was feeling. I know the emotions that go through your mind.” Ledoux said the car that almost hit Plass on Dec. 17 was just coming up Route 9. “It looked like a normal, passing vehicle,” he said. But as it approached, the vehicle barely missed the police car Plass had parked on the side of the road. “From being on the road, doing this for 22 years now, you kind of judge what’s too close and what’s not,” said Ledoux, a Dutchess County native who was raised in Hyde Park and lives there now. “I said to Mike, ‘Watch your back.’ Next thing I know, I grabbed him and threw him to the side. It was close. It was there. It was a matter of inches.” Plass stared at Ledoux, who asked the officer if he had been injured. “We were talking, then watch out, it all happened so fast,” said Plass, also a Dutchess native raised in Hyde Park and a current resident. As Plass recovered, his instincts kicked in. Ledoux told him to “Go get him.’” Plass made sure Ledoux was not injured, got into his cruiser and chased the driver down. “All your police training, it comes back,” said Plass, who started his career in law enforcement with the Dutchess Sheriff’s Office and worked in the Red Hook Police Department before joining Hyde Park in 2012. “It works. It’s not something I can explain. When it’s a critical situation, your body just takes over. You know what to do and you do it.” Plass pulled the driver over within minutes and said his blood-alcohol content was 0.16 percent, twice the legal limit. “I said, ‘Did you see those bright lights back there?,’ ” Plass recalled. “He said, ‘Yeah, I saw them.’ I said, ‘You almost ran me over back there.’ He said, ‘No, no, I wasn’t even close.’ ” Speaking of the entire experience, Plass said a traffic stop “becomes routine stuff — and this time it wasn’t routine.” RESOURCE LINK Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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