The Nebraska State Patrol has been honored by Stop Stick Ltd. for the 2021 “Hit of the Year”. The award is presented annually for an exceptional stop stick deployment that results in the safe conclusion of a pursuit.
On Thursday, Stop Stick representatives presented the award to Trooper John Lewis for his successful deployment of stop sticks during a pursuit with a man suspected of shooting Omaha Police Officer Jeffrey Wittstruck on March 21, 2021. Trooper Lewis’ deployment was chosen out of more than 4,000 stop stick deployments in 2021.
“The apprehension of this suspect was imperative, and it took exceptional teamwork from many troopers, officers, and deputies,” said Colonel John Bolduc, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol. “Part of that team effort was an unbelievable stop stick deployment by Trooper Lewis. If the suspect hadn’t hit the spikes, he could very well have entered Lincoln and put even more members of the public in danger.”
The pursuit began when a trooper observed the suspect vehicle at the Gretna interchange of I-80, at mile marker 432. When the suspect fled westbound on I-80, the trooper initiated a pursuit. During the pursuit, many divisions within NSP and other law enforcement agencies responded.
As the suspect vehicle approached the Waverly interchange, with speeds exceeding 130 miles per hour, Trooper Lewis was able to deploy the stop sticks and contacted the driver’s side tires of the vehicle, all while his view was completely blocked by a passing semi. The suspect vehicle then exited I-80 at the Waverly interchange and the suspect was then taken into custody minutes later without further incident.
“I don’t know how Trooper Lewis did it,” said Adam Freeman, National Sales Director for Stop Stick Ltd. “He had a tractor-trailer traveling parallel with the suspect vehicle and remarkably did not flatten any of the non-target vehicles.”
Earlier this year, NSP presented the actual stop stick used in the pursuit to Officer Wittstruck as he returned to work for the Omaha Police Department.