Sergeant, officer recognized for lifesaving efforts

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published January 23, 2017

 Sgt. Karly Wingart, of the Royal Oak Police Department, was recently honored for pulling a woman from a burning car.

Sgt. Karly Wingart, of the Royal Oak Police Department, was recently honored for pulling a woman from a burning car.

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ROYAL OAK — The Royal Oak Police Department is giving high praise to one of its own after a woman was pulled from a burning car following a vehicle crash.

Sgt. Karly Wingart pulled a 36-year-old Royal Oak resident from the Ford Fusion the resident was a passenger in shortly after midnight on Sunday, Jan. 15. The car hit a stopped Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation bus, and the engine compartment burst into flames, police said.

“I am very proud, but not surprised with Sgt. Wingart’s quick thinking and bravery,” said Police Chief Corrigan O’Donohue in a statement. “With complete disregard for her own personal safety, she entered a burning vehicle to assist an injured passenger.

“I would like to acknowledge the Berkley officer who extinguished the flames while Sgt. Wingart was helping the injured woman.”

Police said that Wingart was the first officer on the scene of the crash on Woodward Avenue, just north of 12 Mile Road.

Royal Oak Police Department Criminal Investigations Division Lt. Keith Spencer said that the Royal Oak woman was severely injured and was trapped in the vehicle. Wingart was able to free the woman by entering the vehicle through the driver’s side.

Spencer said the driver of the Fusion — a 29-year-old Macomb Township man — and the Royal Oak woman were taken to Beaumont Hospital by the Royal Oak Fire Department. One SMART bus passenger also reported minor injuries, police said.

Spencer said the driver was treated and released, and the woman remained in the hospital as of last week.

“Initial information has determined the driver rear-ended the SMART bus that had just dropped off passengers at the time of the crash,” Spencer said. “Alcohol is suspected in being a contributing factor; however, this investigation is ongoing.”

Police officials could not comment on whether or not charges were imminent because it was an active investigation.

Spencer also lauded police officer Anthony Gagliardi for his lifesaving efforts last week in an unrelated incident.

Gagliardi intervened with an individual who tried to hang himself at about 8:41 p.m. Jan. 14.

The officer was checking the exterior of St. Mary’s Catholic Church using a thermal imaging camera during routine patrol when he detected a lone individual near a tree by the building.

Spencer said a thermal imaging camera is a device that the department uses to see things in low light or dark conditions. The cameras are mounted on all Royal Oak patrol vehicles.

“So things that would be otherwise undetectable by the human eye at nighttime, we’re able to see those images through the dark,” he said.

Spencer said Gagliardi approached the individual and found the subject had wrapped a small chain and belt around a tree and the individual’s neck.

Spencer said that as Gagliardi engaged the distraught subject in conversation, assisting officers were able to safely take the individual into protective custody. He said the individual was uninjured and transported to a local hospital for treatment.

“It was outstanding, proactive work by Officer Gagliardi,” Spencer said. “With the help of some good technology, we were able to intervene and get this individual the help that they needed.”

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