Waterloo Police Officer Receiving Valor Award
A Waterloo police officer is being recognized for his life-saving actions during a traffic accident last month.
Officer Mark Nissen will receive the Waterloo police department's Medal of Valor during a ceremony at 4:30 p.m. today (Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016). The event will be held in the council chambers at Waterloo City Hall.
According to police chief Dan Trelka, Nissen was able to direct motorists away from a traffic accident that occurred on U.S. Highway 20/Iowa Highway 27 on Nov. 29, despite being injured. Nissen's patrol car was struck head-on by an apparent drunk driver going the wrong direction.
The crash occurred near the Ansborough Ave. interchange just after 4:30 a.m. Waterloo police officers and sheriff’s deputies were sent to the area after dispatchers received several calls concerning an eastbound vehicle in the westbound lanes.
Trelka said Nissen spotted the suspect vehicle in the outside lane coming straight at him, seconds after he passed another motorist. Nissen tried to take evasive action to avoid a collision, but the oncoming vehicle changed lanes at the same time, and the two vehicles collided head-on. According to a sheriff's report, the patrol car had its emergency lights and siren on at the time of impact.
Despite being injured in the accident, Trelka said Nissen exited his patrol car and assisted the two occupants that were inside the suspect vehicle. He guided them to a safe place to protect them from other vehicles on the highway that were passing the mishap. He also prevented other vehicles from being involved in a mishap.
"Officer Nissen’s actions are in the highest tradition of the Waterloo police department," Trelka said. "His valor is a shining example for all."
As a result of the accident, Erick Anderson, 27, of Iberia, Mo., -- the driver of the suspect vehicle -- was arrested on multiple charges, including second-offense OWI. Officer Nissen was transported to a local hospital, where he was treated for minor injuries.