Thatcher town council thanks officer for act of heroism

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Valley Central: An 11-year-old girl suffered a skull fracture after flipping her ATV in Thatcher on Saturday.

By Brooke Curley

THATCHER – When seconds matter, it’s important to employ individuals who can effectively think and act appropriately in an instant.

With record heat bearing down on an infant in a car at a parking lot at Walmart at 755 S. 20th Ave., Thatcher officer Brian Ellsworth acted decisively and quite likely saved the child from harm or possibly death.

The Thatcher Town Council acknowledged the act of heroism Monday night as Mayor Bob Rivera told of how the incident unfolded.

Rivera said as he was leaving the store with his wife Sunday afternoon, they looked up to see that the police had arrived. The cashier told them that a woman had accidentally locked her baby in her car. At 90 degrees outside, the interior of a vehicle can heat up to 160 degrees within several minutes.

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Valley Central: Thatcher Officer Brian Ellsworth was recognized for his assistance in rescuing the infant.

Rivera and his wife went outside and tried to comfort the young mother. Although the woman locked her baby in the car, Rivera stressed that she didn’t forget the child. Instead, the woman immediately realized she had accidentally locked the door with her purse and the baby inside. Unfortunately, the only key to the car was in the purse.

When the Safford Police arrived, officers immediately started to try using a wedge to pry open the door. However, the Safford officers were having difficulty. With the temperature climbing inside the car and the mother panicking, more help arrived in the form of officer Ellsworth.

“The lady was panicking, and the Safford police department came over and they were trying to put the wedges on the door,” Rivera said. “And all of a sudden, here comes the Thatcher cop and he was trying to help. He stops right there and he just jams his wedge into it, and it (the door) pops open.”

Rivera later said he was deeply impressed with the officers’ ability to work together, and how seriously local law enforcement concentrates on their job.

“It was a neat thing to see our policeman working together,” Rivera said. “It was a very serious thing with a good outcome.”

Rivera later said the town of Thatcher was given a letter by the Safford Police, thanking them for the actions of officer Ellsworth.

“This council thanks officer Ellsworth for his speedy process of opening the door,” Rivera said.