It takes great courage to help others in need, and for local citizens Austin DePaolis and Zachary Bickerdyke, they didn’t hesitate when they saw Lincoln City police officers in danger.
Just after midnight on July 16, LCPD officers were dispatched to a fight, involving multiple people on Hwy 101 at D River. Lincoln City native Austin DePaolis had been traveling southbound on Hwy 101 when he observed the fight and was calling 911when he saw Officer Jim Hoydic arrive on scene.
Several of the people involved ran away from the scene, but as Officer Hoydic exited his vehicle, one of the males involved in the fight immediately attacked Officer Hoydic, landing a tremendous blow to the officer’s head and face.
Officer Hoydic deployed his baton, landing several strikes that did not appear to have any effect on the attacker. When DePaolis observed the attacker continue to advance and wrestle with Officer Hoydic, he ran to help Hoydic.
“The attacker was landing knee strikes to Officer Hoydic when Mr. DePaolis jumped on the back of the attacker and put a neck hold on him,” Police Chief Jerry Palmer said. “Officer KC Claunts arrived on scene at that moment and joined the fight. It took all three of them to get the attacker on the ground, but they still could not gain control of him.”
Officer Claunts attempted to deploy a taser, but the unit failed to discharge. Then Officer Danneker and another local citizen, Zachary Bickerdyke, arrived on scene. Bickerdyke was able to take control of the attacker’s legs and Officer Claunts was able to get control of one arm and then Officers Hoydic and Danneker got control of the other and together were able to get handcuffs applied.
The male continued to fight, and leg restraints had to be applied, before they could get the subject under control.
A male victim of the attacker was transported to SNLH for injuries. Officer Hoydic was taken to the hospital for treatment of head, shoulder and knee injuries and had to be off several days to recover. The suspect was medically evaluated before being lodged in jail.
“It is obvious that had these two individuals not joined this fight that our officers may have struggled a lot harder and could have been more seriously injured,” Palmer said.
At the Aug. 12 City Council meeting, the LCPD publicly thanked the two local citizens and presented them each with a plaque of recognition for their courage that July night.
“In the times that we live in right now, to have individuals like this in our community that support our people and don’t just stand by and watch when stuff like this is happening is remarkable,” Palmer said. “We just want them to know that we have a great appreciation for them to intervene on our behalf.”