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Neighborhood heroes awarded for helping Denver officer after motorcycle accident on I-25

Four men assisted officer Anthony Pequeno after he crashed his motorcycle on the highway while attempting to do a traffic stop this summer.

DENVER — Four men who helped a Denver police officer who crashed while riding his motorcycle on the highway this summer were awarded the Bill Daniels Neighborhood Hero Award and a $1000 check for their actions Monday.  

Daniels Fund and the Denver Police Department recognized Colorado Department of Corrections Sgt. Robert Pressley, Hector Araujo Jr., Vincent Plaskey, and Austin Mackay. 

“It is an honor for us to recognize these four individuals for rushing to the aid of Officer Pequeno,” said Hanna Skandera, President & CEO of the Daniels Fund. “Their actions truly exemplify the spirit of this award and the values of Bill Daniels — selflessly going above and beyond the call of duty to help someone in need.”

The officer and the four men who helped him were reunited for the first time during the event.  

At approximately 5:15 a.m., on July 21, 2022, Denver Police Traffic Officer Anthony Pequeno was involved in a serious motorcycle crash on northbound Interstate 25 near 23rd Avenue. Officer Pequeno was attempting to stop a driver who committed a traffic violation when Pequeno’s motorcycle experienced an anomaly that caused Pequeno to lose control of his motorcycle and strike the highway median – while traveling at a high rate of speed.

Pequeno was seriously injured and was pinned under his motorcycle in the far-left lane of traffic. Three drivers saw this incident and quickly positioned their vehicles in a manner that created a barrier between oncoming traffic and the officer. The three gentlemen, Araujo, Plaskey and Mackay then exited their vehicles and rendered aid to Pequeno as he lay injured on the highway.

At that same time, Sgt. Pressley was driving by the scene and observed Pequeno down on the highway. Sgt. Pressley had medical supplies in his vehicle and pulled over to assist in rendering medical aid of the officer. Sgt. Pressley applied bandages to Pequeno’s abrasions and remained with him until paramedics arrived.

Credit: DPD

“The quick and thoughtful actions by these individuals undoubtedly prevented this incident from becoming worse and I cannot thank them enough for their potentially life-saving actions in helping our officer,” said Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas. “These individuals are true heroes, and we are honored to acknowledge them.”

After the four men were presented with the Bill Daniels Neighborhood Hero Award, the Denver Police Department also recognized them with a Community Hero Award.

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