Three recognized for heroic actions in saving Scotts Bluff County deputy

NSP, Scotts Bluff County Sheriff presented Life Saver Awards
From left to right - Keagan Shifflett, Deputy Josh Ruzicka, Robert Regester, Kealan Hawley.
From left to right - Keagan Shifflett, Deputy Josh Ruzicka, Robert Regester, Kealan Hawley.(Nebraska State Patrol)
Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 4:50 PM CDT
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SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. (Press Release) - Friends and family gathered Wednesday in Scottsbluff as the Nebraska State Patrol and Scotts Bluff County Sheriff’s Office honored three citizen heroes who saved the life of a Scotts Bluff County Deputy last week.

Kealan Hawley, Robert Regester, and Keagan Shifflett each witnessed a Scotts Bluff County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle crash and catch on fire at approximately 7:20 a.m. MT on April 18 in Scottsbluff. Deputy Josh Ruzicka, 39, of Gering, had suffered a medical incident while driving on Highway 71, south of the Highway 26 junction. His patrol vehicle left the roadway, struck an embankment, and caught fire.

Hawley, Regester, and Shifflett all responded and found Deputy Ruzicka unconscious inside the burning vehicle. They were able to break the window and pull Deputy Ruzicka to safety.

“You responded immediately,” Sheriff Mark Overman said to the three heroes. “With no regard for your own safety, you forced your way into the burning vehicle and extricated the deputy, moving him to safety. We are eternally grateful for the selflessness and bravery that you have showed to save a life.”

“Normally we present life saver awards to our troopers who are involved in incidents like this, but it’s really special when we get a chance to honor our citizens who decided to step up and take action,” said Colonel John Bolduc, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol. “The actions of these three heroes showed courage and boldness during an emergency situation. It is with deep appreciation this award is presented to these three gentlemen.”

Deputy Ruzicka has recovered and was on hand to help present the awards to all three heroes.

“If they wouldn’t have stopped, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Deputy Ruzicka. “It’s good to know we still have good people out there who are willing to help.”

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