Utah police honor man who helped injured cop

By Pat Reavy
Deseret Morning News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Karl Lins had just dropped off some items to his kids at school and was riding his bicycle home on 11th Avenue near 900 East.

That's when he saw bicycle parts in the road. Then a bike tire off to the side. And then, Lins came across Salt Lake police officer Brad Burningham.

The officer was unconscious and bleeding severely from his face. Lins originally feared the officer had suffered a stroke.

"He was in a situation I'd never seen before," Lins said.

Lins noticed the officer's two-way radio connected to his uniform and "pushed a lot of buttons" in an effort to call for help. That's when Lins noticed a "little recessed red button" and assumed it must be for emergency situations.

After pressing that button several times, officers responded immediately followed closely by paramedics from a nearby fire station.

Burningham suffered a fractured jaw, a fractured orbital bone, several broken teeth and a concussion in an apparent accident. Despite all of that, Burningham considers himself very lucky, thanks to Lins.

"I'm eternally grateful to this gentleman," he said. "If he hadn't been there as quickly as he had ... I can't even describe how grateful I am."

For his quick action on that afternoon of Oct. 20, Lins was awarded Wednesday with a certificate proclaiming him the Salt Lake Police Department's Citizen of the Month for October. Chief Chris Burbank presented Lins with his award.

"He actually saved our officer probably some severe injury," he said.

Burningham, a 19-year veteran with the department, said he doesn't remember much of what happened. Other officers have told him he may have hit a large garbage can, and was thrown off his bicycle, landing on the pavement face first. He has been back to work on light duty and has ridden his own personal bike since the accident. Burningham was hoping to get final doctor clearance Wednesday to return to full duty.

During Wednesday's award presentation, Lins and Burningham met for the first time since the accident. They hugged.

"Last time I saw you, you did not look particularly appealing," Lins joked.

Burningham told Lins how much he appreciated what he did. Lins, an avid bike rider himself, said he appreciated the work of all Salt Lake police officers.

"I didn't do anything I don't think anyone else would have done," he said. "Truly, I don't feel like I did anything unusual."

Lins is the Thayne Robson Faculty Fellow and associate professor of finance at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

Copyright 2008 Deseret Morning News

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