It was news to his colleagues from the Department of Corrections when Records & ID Captain Frederick Haibon was called to the podium during the Rhode Island State Police’s annual Promotion and Award Ceremony last week to receive the Colonel Chaffee Award for his role at the scene of an accident the preceding year. Chief Inspector Aaron Aldrich, who attended on behalf of Corrections Director A.T. Wall, describes Capt. Haibon as a modest man who avoids the limelight but whose heroic actions deserve recognition.
According to the State Police and the Chepachet Barracks, Capt. Haibon was traveling south on Route 295 on Sunday October 28, 2007, when he witnessed an accident in which a vehicle veered into the median, collided with a tree, continued across the highway coming to rest upside down on the guardrail. The vehicle immediately burst into flames upon impact. He and Edmund Marceau of Chepachet, also traveling the same route in his own vehicle, immediately parked their cars and went to render aid. They observed an 11-year-old girl, who was the operator’s daughter, lying next to the burning vehicle. Mr. Marceau moved the girl away from the burning vehicle to a safe position and observed the operator, who was on fire, attempting to crawl from the vehicle. Capt. Haibon and Mr. Marceau pulled the operator away from the vehicle, attempting to extinguish the flames as they commanded him to roll on the ground. They pulled the victim further away from the vehicle and attended to him as the vehicle exploded and became fully engulfed in flames.
The eleven-year-old passenger suffered only minor scrapes and bruises and was released from the hospital a few hours later. Unfortunately, the operator died later that night after sustaining burns to 95 percent of his body.
According to Capt. LeRoy Rose of the RISP, “Capt. Frederick Haibon and Mr. Edmund Marceau, with total disregard for their own safety, rendered aid to the victims at this terrible accident and were selected to receive the Colonel Everitte St. John Chaffee Award for distinguished and meritorious service to the Rhode Island State Police for their quick response and bravery in placing themselves in harm’s way to assist the operator and save the life of the 11-year-old passenger.”
Capt. Haibon is a Warwick resident and has been with the RIDOC since the fall of 1982. His personnel file includes numerous letters of appreciation both for his attendance record and for his collaborative efforts with other law enforcement agencies on a variety of projects.