February 8, 2016 Alexander, Ala. The Alexander Police Department responded to a call of a disoriented man at the Southern Care Hospice on Wednesday afternoon. The man turned out to be 63-year-old David Matthews from Hartford, Kentucky.
“He had come in to the business and was asking about his wife and was unsure of himself, they had them go out and get his license plate information. We were able to run a check and it turned out that we had a teletype alert on him as being missing from Kentucky. So we got people over there and brought him back to the station to see what we could do to help.” Capt. Mario Hodge told alexcityOutlook in an interview.
The Captain explained that he and Officer Troy Middlebrooks were able to assist Matthews some 32 hours after he had left Kentucky by himself for an appointment with the Veterans Hospital. The VA Clinic he was attempting to get to was in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Normally Matthews goes with his wife. However she was having medial problems herself at the time and was assured by Matthews that he would be alright going by himself.
Unfortunately Matthews became confused along the way and ended up in Alexander, Alabama where he was asking about his wife and the VA clinic.
Officers from the Alexander Police Department realized that he was a missing person after checking teletype information and matching Matthews to the incident reports of missing persons. With that information they had some options.
Matthews wife was too sick to make the journey to Alabama to pick him up and the Sheriff’s Office from his home in Kentucky could not spare the manpower to retrieve him either. The Police in Alexander couldn’t find any relatives to assist locally or even close by. They were slowly running out of options.
“He was a vet and he was a long ways from home and he was just struggling,” Middlebrooks said. “I mean we fed him and all, but you just got the feeling that if you put him on a bus that could be an issue, plus his car was here. If you got him a room, we didn’t know when someone might be able to come for him or there really wasn’t any way to make sure he wouldn’t wander off.
“He reminded me of my wife’s grandfather and I told them I’d drive him back on my own time. I just didn’t want him to go through more than he already had.”
The two officers spent the next 14 hours driving Mr. Matthews back home and returning home themselves. They seemed to enjoy helping him though. One officer drove Mr. Matthews vehicle back while the other drove Mr. Matthews home in his own vehicle.
“It was kind of funny,” Middlebrooks said. “He wanted to ride with Capt. Hodge because he had a better radio. He was a nice guy. It almost seemed like he had moments where he was fine and then other times where he was disoriented. I could see how what happened to him happened. I’m no doctor, but it would be like you get on I-65 South and for a minute you would see something that looks familiar and then times when you didn’t recognize a thing. But unlike you or me, instead of stopping and asking, he was determined to try to figure it out on his own.”
Kentucky Officers met the trio when they got close to their destination and provided an escort to Mr. Matthews home.
“They were very thankful and were glad to see him for sure,” Hodge said of the family.. “We were just glad we found him and we able to help. It’s our job to help people and we were glad to do it. I know that if I had family in trouble, I would hope that someone would help them,”
Alexander City Police Chief Willie Robinson was quoted as saying: “That’s the kind of people we have in out department. They volunteered to do that. They are dedicated and they do all they can to help keep people safe. This is just another indication of that dedication that the men and women who represent Alexander City show on a regular basis.”