Attorney General Ashley Moody today presented a Back the Blue Award to two Jacksonville Sheriff Police Officers for saving a woman from a burning vehicle. Officer Kathleen James and Officer Chelsea McCullom witnessed a vehicle crash on the on-ramp of Interstate 10 that quickly erupted into fire. The officers heard screams coming from the vehicle and instantly began to rescue the driver. Both officers had to force a jammed door open and then enter the burning vehicle to pull the driver to safety. The officers then dragged the woman 10 feet away before the vehicle exploded. Despite life-threatening injuries, including second and third degree burns to 40 percent of her body, the driver made a full recovery thanks to the quick-acting of Officers James and McCullom.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “The heroic actions taken by these two officers are incredible. Without hesitation, both of these officers fearlessly entered a burning vehicle to save this woman’s life and shielded her with their own bodies from exploding shrapnel. It is an absolute honor to present them a Back the Blue Award today. Thank you, officers, for nobly serving your community and risking your own lives to save another. We are so proud of you.”
Officer James has served with JSO since 2013, starting in the property room as a police service technician and then transitioning to police officer in 2015. Previous to employment with JSO, James worked as a certified medical assistant for 12 years. James also served four years in the U.S. Army and is currently in the U.S. Navy Reserves. Officer McCullom has served with JSO since 2017 as a police officer. Before starting with JSO, McCollum completed her degree in criminal justice at Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, Indiana.
To nominate a law enforcement officer, citizen or organization for a Back the Blue Award, please email [email protected].
For more information about the Attorney General’s Back the Blue Award, click here.