In December 2018, deputies from the Saline County Sheriff's Office responded to a bus accident involving a youth football team. In recognition for their action, the team recently sent the office a plaque.
"I wish it (the recognition) was on different circumstances," said Sgt. Aaron Washington as he recalled the horrible accident.
Even though the plaque is addressed to the SCSO, Washington said there are many people who assisted during the incident.
"I feel that everybody that responded out there had a good hand in it," Washington said.
At around 2:40 a.m. Dec. 13, 2018, a charter bus overturned at Exit 111 of eastbound Interstate 30. One juvenile died as a result and at least 45 people — including mostly children — were injured during the accident, according to Arkansas State Police.
The child who died in the accident was identified as Kameron Johnson, 9, a third-grade student at Aspire Charter School. According to family members who posted on social media following the accident, Kameron was known to most as "Kam Kam."
The charter bus, which was carrying the youth football team, was traveling from Dallas to Memphis, Tennessee, when it left the roadway and overturned.
During an initial statement, the driver of the vehicle, Eula Jarrett, 65, of Tennessee, told police she lost control causing the bus to roll off Interstate 30, according to Arkansas State Police.
Since Washington was only a few miles away from the scene when the accident was reported, he was the first deputy to arrive.
Without thinking, Washington went to help the victims. He explained that there were people running on and off the bus and some trapped on the bus. There was also a child trapped under the bus.
He was trying to help as many people as possible while also requesting more first responders.
"Hopefully nothing like this will every happen again," Washington said.
He explained how all of the first responders worked together while responded to the accident.
Being a police officer was a childhood dream of Washington's. He has worked for the SCSO for about 18 years, he said.
Washington serves as a role model for younger deputies, according to Lt. Joe Traylor, spokesperson for the SCSO.
Traylor calls his coworker "the shining example of the kind of deputy this county deserves and needs."
In recognition for his actions at the scene of the accident, Washington has also received a SCSO Medal of Valor.