Fening Honored for Her Actions at Crash Site

By Rachel Berry

Oxford Police Lt. Lara Fening received a meritorious service award from the city for helping save the life of the victim of a car crash.

The incident happened June 1, near Brookville, Ohio. In presenting the award to Fening at City Council’s Sept. 4 meeting, Police Chief John Jones described the incident. Fening, who was off duty and driving an unmarked car, was returning to Oxford from a training event in Columbus when she saw an SUV on the side of Interstate 70 that had rear-ended a tractor-trailer.

The SUV was starting to burn and the driver was trapped inside. Fening called 911, grabbed a fire extinguisher from her car and put out the flames, Jones said.

She tried to get the driver out of the car, but all of the doors were unable to open because the engine had been pushed back into the vehicle. The steering wheel was pressed into the victim’s cheek, and the airbags were deployed.

Fening stayed with the driver until the fire department arrived, at which time the victim had gone unconscious. The SUV was so deformed that they had to cut the car and his seat to remove him from the vehicle. The driver suffered serious injuries but is expected to recover, Jones said. Jones said the Brookville fire chief, when describing Fening’s actions, credited her quick response with keeping the man alive.

“[The award is] unnecessary because to anybody in the public safety field that’s just what you do,” Fening told the Observer later. “It’s kind of just an automatic reaction.”

The award consists of a medallion and a service bar to be worn on her uniform.