Alan Delsantro of Scranton, left, and Easton Gracie of Pocono Summit were honored by state police for assisting a trooper in an arrest.David Kidwell/Pocono Record
By ADAM McNAUGHTON
Pocono Record Writer
September 18, 2008
SWIFTWATER - What would you do if on your drive home from work, you saw a state police trooper fighting with a man during a traffic stop on the side of the road?
For two men, honored on Wednesday by state police, that situation meant pulling over and helping a trooper with a violent driver on July 25, 2006.
"I saw a state trooper with this gentlemen and he was trying to put the handcuffs on him and it ended up that they were rolling around on the grass," said Alan Delsantro. "I saw the guy on top of him trying to reach for his gun so I just pulled the car over, jumped out, I got on top of the other gentleman until the officer was able to get his handcuffs on him."
Delsantro of Scranton and Easton Gracie of Pocono Summit were driving west on Interstate 80 near Scotrun when they saw Trooper Girald Hughes fighting with a man who he had pulled over for driving with a suspended license.
Gracie pulled over and called 911, giving dispatchers directions to the spot. Delsantro came to the trooper's aid, jumping in to restrain the suspect.
"There's a lot of state troopers that I know that are my friends," Delsantro said. "God forbid something terrible happens and you knew you could have prevented it. Nothing went through my head to be honest with you, I just got out of my car and did it."
The two men were given Outstanding Citizenship Awards during a ceremony at the police barracks in Swiftwater on Wednesday as their families and friends looked on.
"These two gentlemen, while on their way home from work, observed a trooper in need of assistance," said Trooper David Peters during the ceremony. "Instead of just observing and continuing on their way, these two men pulled over, provided assistance and a quick resolution to a situation that could have ended very seriously."
While it can sometimes be helpful, state police do not recommend that citizens become involved physically during a police situation. The best advice for witnesses, Peters said, is to call police during an emergency, be as observant as you can and be the best witness possible.
"You don't have to get physically involved," Gracie said. "I got involved with my cell phone. People need to step in more often and be more concerned and be aware of what's going on around them."
The driver who was fighting Trooper Hughes, Alpha Jalloh, 21, of Hazleton, was arrested and pleaded guilty in January 2007 to resisting arrest and was sentenced to a term in Monroe County Correctional Facility.
The two men said they were only doing what was right and they hope others will continue to do their parts to fight crime.
"I'd do it again if I had to," Gracie said.