NIPD honors three for help in recovering missing local youngster

Members of the New Iberia Police Department awarded three local residents with life-saving valor awards after aiding in the rescue of a missing youngster earlier this month.

NIPD Assistant Chief Brandon Williams honored Dion Merrick, Brandon Antoine and Ashley Thibodeaux with life-saving awards at Tuesday’s New Iberia City Council meeting.

Williams said the awards were given as a result of the heroic efforts made by the three Teche Area residents after they spotted a vehicle listed on an Amber Alert that was associated with a 10-year-old missing juvenile.

“Their courageous actions and sudden decision-making in an unexpected situation led to the safe return of an endangered juvenile,” Williams said.

The missing child was reported to have been taken by a sex offender, and the car listed in the Amber alert was located by the Pelican Waste and Debris workers who quickly notified law enforcement agencies and livestreamed the arrest of the wanted man as well as the rescue of the 10-year-old.

“We really wanted her to come home soon and we really appreciate what you guys did,” Councilwoman Brooke Marcotte said. “It’s my understanding (Thibodeaux) called 911 and you guys blocked the car. We truly appreciate that.”

“The police department can’t be everywhere and it takes citizens to be eyes and ears when they’re not around,” Councilwoman Deedy Johnson-Reid added. “We thank you for helping get this beautiful young lady back to her father.”

In other business, Councilman David Broussard addressed the council on a road issue at Lewis Street and Weeks Island Road that had recently been corrected.

Broussard read a letter from State Sen. Fred Mills regarding insufficient space required for southbound traffic at the intersection, which led to large vehicles having to use the shoulder of the road to make a proper turn.

Large vehicular traffic turning from the southbound lane on Lewis Street to the east on Weeks Island Road lacked the necessary amount of space to make the turn, resulting in the safety issue.

“The amount of space for large commercial vehicular traffic, such as oil field trucks, large trucks with trailers, including school buses, have limited space to turn,” according to the letter from Mills. “The amount of space was so limited that large vehicles were required to use the shoulder of Lewis Street to complete the turn.

Broussard thanked Mills and Iberia Parish Government for helping to correct the issue.

“We corrected the problem and I appreciate the parish for helping,” Broussard said. “Twenty buses turn there a day and they don’t have to go on the shoulder, now it’s easier to turn. It’s a problem that’s been corrected.”

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