‘What Roger did was very heroic…’ Quick action stops runaway car, rescues woman

'What Roger did was very heroic…' Quick action stops runaway car, rescues woman Vermillion rural carrier Roger Delaney (second from right) received a certificate of commendation from the U.S. Postal Service in recognition of his efforts Oct. 22 that stopped a runaway car in Burbank and rescued an injured woman. He was presented the award by Rickie Kuuzweiler, manager of Post Office operations, Sioux Falls, Mike Manning, Vermillion postmaster, and Rick Shaver, district manager of the U.S. Postal Service, Sioux Falls. by David Lias Employees of the U.S. Postal Service are known for not letting rain, wind, snow or dark of night stop from them from completing their appointed rounds.

Add out-of-control automobiles to the list of challenges faced by postal carriers.

Perhaps no one appreciates the quick decision made by Roger Delaney, a rural carrier employed by the Vermillion Post Office, more than Mrs. Rose Girard.

She just may owe her life to both a bit of luck, and a sizeable volume of selfless action taken by Roger Delaney, a rural mail carrier, in Burbank on Oct. 22.

Girard, already laying injured in the street by the Burbank Post Office, in the least certainly avoided further injury thanks to Delaney's rapid response.

"On Oct. 22, Roger was serving his rural route," Mike Manning, postmaster of the Vermillion Post Office, said. "As he neared the Burbank Post Office, he observed Mrs. Rose Girard approach the post office from the south."

Girard turned right into a parking spot on the south side of the post office, and as many South Dakotans who are in hurry often do, she exited her car with the motor running.

She also failed to close to driver's door.

"As she started towards the post office, her car engaged the transmission in reverse and started to back into the street, " Manning said. "Roger watched as she ran after the car."

Manning said Girard chased the car about three-fourths of the way across the street. Her vehicle then started turning in a counter-clockwise circle.

"Mrs. Girard paused and let her car complete a circle in reverse," Manning said. "She then attempted to jump into the car as it was backing up in a circle."

The car's open driver's door struck Girard. She was dragged into the street before being freed from the automobile, only to have one of her legs run over by the car's left front tire.

"Her car was still traveling in a circle in reverse," Manning said. "Roger was about 50 to 75 feet north of the incident traveling toward the post office, and Mrs. Girard's car was coming around to possibly run over her again."

Manning said Delaney had about five seconds to put his vehicle in the path of the runaway car.

"Roger's quick action did stop the car's motion with minor damage to his vehicle and Mrs. Girard's vehicle," Manning said. "Mrs. Girard spent several days in the hospital and was off work for about four weeks."

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending.

"She is back to work and has recovered from her injuries," the Vermillion postmaster said. "If it wasn't for Roger's quick thinking and disregard for his own safety, the outcome could have been much worse."

In a brief ceremony Tuesday morning in the Vermillion Post Office, Delaney was presented a U.S. Post Office certificate of commendation by Manning.

The event was witnessed by Rickie Kuuzweiler, manager of post office operations, Sioux Falls, and Rick Shaver, U.S. Postal Service district manager, Sioux Falls.

"What Roger did was very heroic," Kuuzweiler said to Delaney's co-workers who stopped work to participate in the awards ceremony. "He put his own personal safety at risk, and that's very commendable. We do appreciate all of your efforts."

Delaney said the incident helped drive home the importance of never leaving a running vehicle unattended.

"I guess I learned that there's a very important reason that we're supposed to shut it (our car) down," he said. "You never know when something like this will happen."

Manning is simply glad that Delaney was in the right place at the right time.

"The post office needs more people who step forward in time of trouble to do their part in helping others," he said.

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