CLARKSVILLE — Three Clarksville police officers will be recognized for likely saving the life of a man who they found in a creek more than two days after he went missing.
Police located Ronald Taylor, 31, Tuesday morning in Mill Creek near Harrison Avenue and South Clark Boulevard; he was dehydrated and disoriented, unsure of where he was or what day it was.
"He was pretty distraught and confused, didn't know where he was at," Clarksville Officer John Miller said. "He thought he was home and thought he had just finished eating."
Police first responded to the area Monday around 1 p.m., when a friend called to report Taylor missing. He had last been seen about 6 p.m. Friday. Police searched the area for the man Monday, but only found clues of Taylor having been there — a baseball hat of his the friend had found, his car with keys in the ignition and phone.
"The whole thing was kind of weird and his friend thought so as well," Miller said.
Police called off the search for the day but it wasn't sitting right with Miller. He and two other officers, Erik Laasanen and Jason Reed, went back the next morning and continued to search the area along the creek, this time on ATVs.
"I said 'I want to go back to this property and do a thorough search' because I thought stuff just isn't adding up," Miller said.
Feeling that they had searched everywhere in the area, police were about to head back up to the main road after checking one last place — the spot where Taylor was found. He had been cleaning up the wooded area off of Randolph Avenue when he said he passed out and woke up in the creek, according to police.
He also uses a cane which police could not locate; they say he was likely unable to get himself out of the creek.
Clarksville Police Chief Mark Palmer said the man was taken to the hospital and treated for multiple medical issues, including dehydration. He said he was doing well at the emergency room but may have to stay several days.
"It was quite clear from listening to the doctors that had he not been found, he probably would have perished down there," Palmer said.
For their efforts, Officers Miller, Laasanen and Reed will be given lifesaving awards by the police department at the Clarksville Town Council meeting Oct. 15. Palmer said these are rare. In recent years only a handful have been awarded — one for delivering a baby, one for saving a baby and one for administering CPR to a person having a heart attack.
"This will be a unique situation where they found the [person] in a dire condition and saved him," Palmer said, adding that the officers deserve accolades for their work.
"They're all excellent officers; they're definitely overachievers so I'm not surprised they went down until they exhausted all means. They did a great job and I'm very proud of them."