Haughton, La. Officer resigns after trying to save lives in flash floods

An Officer of Haughton, La. Attempted to rescue a family that had been swept away during the flash floods in Louisiana. The family was VERY grateful for his efforts; the officer however was facing disciplinary actions for events during the attempted rescue. Now he has resigned.

On March 8, 2016 a flash flood swept away the roadway that Jamie Stathem was traveling on in her truck with her two children just south of the Haughton city limits.  The vehicle was swept downstream where it got temporarily hung up on a barbed wire fence.

Stathem immediately sought a safe hold in a tree with her children and she told them to abandon the vehicle with her. One child slipped and fell into the water and Jamie went in after the child. Then went back to the tree where the two were able to keep from being taken downstream. Her other child managed to get on top of the roof of the vehicle and call 911 for help.

Rescuers responded and one of them happened to be from the Haughton Police Department which was in an adjoining jurisdiction. The officer hearing the call for help rushed toward the family and was the first to arrive near the scene.

Stathem took comfort knowing people were coming to help her family hearing the sirens and took heart. She encouraged her children to hold on for the emergency personnel who they could hear coming.

However the Haughton Officer’s SUV ended in the same fate as Stathem’s and was swept away by the rapidly rising flood waters. The Officer escaped being washed away himself only by evacuating his vehicle and taking to higher ground himself.

Although the officer never made it Stathem was grateful for his efforts and encouraged in her desperate time.

The Officer was later to be brought up on formal charges for having left his jurisdiction and the loss of the vehicle under the circumstances. A Council meeting was scheduled to determine his punishment on March 15, 2016.  The officer involved didn’t want to be identified nor comment on the situation.

Today prior to the hearing of the council regarding the officers censure for the incident the Officer has resigned his position with the department. He stated that if he had to do it all over again he would.

The officer released the following statement to KSLA News 12:

After talking with family and very close friends, and deep consideration I have decided to resign from Haughton Police Department.

In eight and a half years of law enforcement I have had the pleasure of meeting many people, and experiencing events that most people will never have the opportunity to experience.  Some good, some bad, and some that I hope no one will ever have to experience; but all will forever be dear to my heart.

Yes, I have made mistakes in my career here and there but I’m sure everyone has at some point. We are all human. However, the events of March 8, 2016 was not one.  If I had to do it all again, I would.

This is by far the toughest decision that I have ever had to make, but I believe it to be best for my family, myself, and my future.

I am proud to say I’m leaving Haughton Police Department with my head held high, knowing deep in my heart my actions on the night of March 8th, was the right thing to do.

Thank you to everyone that has supported me and stood by my side. I will never be able to express how grateful I am of you.

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Letter of resignation
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Haughton PD SUV in flood waters off Davis Road (Photo: Stathem family)

 

 

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