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Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Moran honored for lifesaving response

T-L Photo/ROBERT A. DEFRANK Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Daniel Moran Jr., center, is shown with his children Makenna, left, and Aiden, wife Jennifer, and parents Susan and Dan Moran. He was commended Wednesday for his response to a May 23 crash that saved a man’s life.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Daniel Moran Jr.’s courage and quick reactions saved a 68-year-old man’s life.

Moran was honored Wednesday at the St. Clairsville patrol post with commendations from the OSHP and the Ohio General Assembly.

The crash occurred May 23 near mile marker 215 of Interstate 70 in St. Clairsville. A FedEx semi-truck traveling west struck the rear of a Chevy Blazer, sending the vehicle off the right side of the road where it overturned and caught fire. Moran’s intervention saved the life of the Blazer’s driver, Henry Ater of Blanchester, Ohio.

“Everything happened very quickly,” Moran said. “It only took a few minutes, so I went from zero to 100. I was just glad I was able to get Mr. Ater out, and he seems to be doing well at this time.”

Moran recounted the event.

“It was quiet Sunday morning and I was just doing my routine patrol on I-70 when I noticed a column of smoke on the horizon, and as I got closer it got more and more of a darker color, and then I realized it was a vehicle on fire on the side of the road,” Moran said. “There were just split-second reactions. As people were running to me, I knew that somebody was in the vehicle. There was so much smoke I couldn’t see Mr. Ater inside the vehicle. Then I started putting the flames out and I realized he was still alive. He said he couldn’t get his seatbelt off.

“From where the semi rear-ended his vehicle, his vehicle went off the right side of the road, overturned and came to rest on its wheels and caught fire, and the impact from the semi caused the vehicle to lock up,” Moran said. “I tried to get in from the passenger side windows and I was unable to, so I was able to go around to the driver’s side of the vehicle, go through the window, cut off his shoulder restraint and then we started to pull him out feet-first, me and another driver. We weren’t able to get him out. I had to cut the lap belt.”

They were able to pull Ater through the window and get him to the side of the road.

“I’m very, very proud of him,” Jennifer Moran, the trooper’s wife, said. “That’s just his normal character. That’s what he does.”

“Trooper Moran does a great job for the citizens of Belmont County and the citizens of Ohio,” Capt. Anne Ralston, commander of the patrol’s Cambridge District, said. “Dan does everything to a very high level, and I think his actions on the day of the crash are emblematic of the way he approaches the job, his willingness to put his service above himself, and in this instance certainly saved the life of the driver that day.”

Ater’s daughter, Amanda Keech, also of Blanchester, said her father is recovering. She said the family thanks Moran.

“He’s wonderful. He is my new favorite person in the whole world,” she said of the trooper. “I truly believe at that day and time he was definitely placed there by God. Without him, honestly I know we wouldn’t have my father with us today. Words cannot express how thankful myself and my family are for him.”

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