Spirit of Courage Award: Davis Benner
Davis Benner is a Corporal with the San Diego Sheriff’s Office. In the late afternoon of January 9th, 2022, Corporal Benner was on his way to work when he came upon a major car collision. Although he was off-duty, Corporal Benner approached a vehicle that had a head-on collision with van – and the van was already on fire. The air bag dust made it difficult for him to identify whether the driver was indeed still in the vehicle that was not yet on fire. He immediately acted to assess the situation and assist however he could.
Although obstructed by the airbags, Deputy Benner heard someone moaning in pain from inside the car, which verified for him that the driver was indeed still in the car. Unable to remove the driver from the driver’s side, he knew that the fire-engulfed van was locked head-to-head with the car, and it would only be a matter of time before the car would then catch fire too.
Several U.S. Marines had stopped to assist. One of the Marines gave him a tire iron which he used to break through the passenger side. Corporal Benner pulled the driver out of the sedan from the passenger window as the fire from the other car began to encroach on the sedan. He, along with several of the U.S. Marines, began to render aid to the car driver from a safe distance as the van fire raged on and as emergency personnel arrived. His actions are a credit to his quick thinking and agility to jump into action, and clearly reflect the values espoused by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department in its commitment to public safety.