ADS employee risks life to stop speeding car

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Monday, July 26, 2010

SAVANNAH, Ga.—ADS Security—in the business of protecting lives and property—on July 19 touted via tweet the selfless actions of ADS life safety and security consultant Jon Pirkle, who risked his life and property recently to intervene on behalf of police, help apprehend fleeing perps and end what could have been a dangerous and costly situation.

Pirkle and some friends had been out fishing on his boat for the day and were returning home with the boat in tow behind his pickup truck when a fast-moving car (published reports put the vehicle's speed at 90 mph) flew past him followed by a police cruiser attempting to keep the speeding car in sight. The car, a black hatchback, turned around in an apartment complex and came back toward Pirkle who thought fast and ended the chase, using his own truck, trailer and boat to span the roadway and block the car's escape route. When the car tried to edge past the front of Pirkle's blockade onto the shoulder, Pirkle nosed his truck into the side of the vehicle, pinning the driver's side door and bringing the flight to an end.

"Our officers are not allowed to engage in high speed chases. It's too dangerous. The person being chased will go flying through intersections where there's traffic and through neighborhoods where there might be children. They're trying to get away. Even though their actions aren't our fault, it's viewed that if we weren't chasing them, they wouldn't be running," said Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department Public Information Officer Gena Moore, noting that while Pirkle's actions were probably not advisable they were "absolutely helpful. Had that car gotten back out on to the open roadways we wouldn't have been able to pursue him. Mr. Pirkle saw the same dangers that we see—it was a high speed situation and this was dangerous—and he said to himself, ‘I'm not going to let this happen in my neighborhood.'"

ADS EVP Tom Szell said he wasn't surprised by Pirkle's actions. "Our philosophy in the company is built around doing the right thing for the customer and having integrity and being ethical all the time. And we talk about that like it's golden, and I truly believe that our employees embrace that philosophy," Szell said. "So it doesn't surprise me at all that Jon would act this way—or any of our employees, really."

Pirkle said he just did what came naturally. "I knew it was a dead-end road and I knew he'd have to exit back out onto the main road. And sure enough he came sliding around the corner and tried to get by me. There's just a lot of kids in that neighborhood, and there's a lady that feeds the ducks so there's always all kinds of baby ducks, and there's a busy bus stop there, and I just knew that if this guy got by me, someone was going to get hurt," Pirkle said. "This was just me trying to do my citizenly duty, just trying to keep an eye on my neighborhood. I would hope that anyone else would do the same thing. I mean, it could be my daughter out there on the street in danger."

According to police, there were five teenaged individuals in the speeding car, two of whom escaped out the passenger's side door when the car was wedged into some bushes by the nose of Pirkle's pickup. The two who fled are still at large while the ones apprehended have been released with no charges filed. WTOC news footage of the story shows the displeasure of the teens upon apprehension.

ADS president John Cerasuolo lauded Pirkle's actions. "Jon's heroic actions have inspired all of us at ADS Security. We strive everyday to protect our customers and neighbors and Jon has given us a great tangible example of what it means to accomplish that objective," Cerasuolo said. "I have heard it said that in dire situations a man's true character is revealed. We now know the strength of Jon's character. Jon refused to allow these criminals to terrorize his community and that is the hallmark of what it means to be an American."