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Two Missouri State Highway Patrol employees with ties to this region received honors during an awards ceremony April 29 in Columbia.

Col. Eric Olson, superintendent, graduated those recognized.

Two from this region received awards:

Communications Operator III Lori L. Wood, Troop G, received a patrol lifesaving award. it is presented to an active or retired employee who is distinguished by saving the life of another person. (22 were presented):
On Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, she was working the overnight shift when she received a call from Texas County 911 regarding a vehicle in the water on Missouri Highway 17 and North Pine Street in Summersville. She consulted a map and determined North Pine Street did not exist in the Summersville area. Using the provided cell phone number, Wood called the driver to determine her location. Unfortunately, they had a poor connection and their call ended. She began texting the driver using her personal cell phone in order to determine the driver’s approximate location. She then called out Sgt. S. Neal Foster, Troop G, to assist. Wood continued texting until he arrived. The driver was hypothermic and quite frightened. Foster took her to a local department store to acquire dry clothing and then transported her to a residence in Mountain View.

Every year, an officer of the year is chosen. The 2021 Benjamin Oliver Booth Officer Of The Year went to Cpl. Evan L. Tyrrell, Q/DDCC.

Since 2016, Tyrrell has served as a part-time forensic investigator in the Digital Forensic Investigative Unit. Throughout 2021, Tyrrell was assigned investigations resulting in suspects being arrested for child pornography.

In several of the cases, he used an undercover profile of a supposed 14-year-old to locate these predators. One of these suspects confessed to molesting a 14-year-old child in another state. In one case, Cpl. Tyrrell contacted the suspect, obtained a confession and determined that hundreds of child pornography files had been downloaded.

An investigation in Cedar County led him to a residence where a woman confessed after speaking with him. A Carter County investigation involved a 15-year-old child, who was sending and receiving pornographic images with other users on social media applications. When the suspect was questioned, he admitted to molesting his 10-year-old nephew on at least two different occasions. This same investigation led to another suspect who lived in Poplar Bluff and worked at a local bank.

The suspect was arrested for sending pornographic images of himself to Tyrrell’s undercover persona. On Sept. 7, 2021, Tyrrell assisted the Texas County Sheriff’s Department with a missing 16-year-old girl. Tyrrell’s investigation revealed the 26-year-old suspect and the girl were in California. He contacted the U.S. Marshal’s Service and a short time later, they located the suspect and the missing girl. The missing girl was reunited with her family and the suspect was arrested and later charged with statutory rape and kidnapping. These investigations led to five federal indictments, many of which carry an average sentence of 12 to 15 years in prison.

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