Rutherford County Sheriff Deputies Earn Awards From Tennessee Highway Safety Office

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Cutline: Rutherford County Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh, Chief Deputy Keith Lowery, Deputy Chief Britt Reed and Patrol Sgt. Sean Vinson congratulate deputies who achieved awards from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office. From left are Lowery and Vinson, award winners Deputy Zachary Williams and Deputy John Wauchek, Fitzhugh, award winners Deputy Kody O’Donnell, Deputy Andrew Quintal and Deputy James Elliott and Reed.
Rutherford County Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh, Chief Deputy Keith Lowery, Deputy Chief Britt Reed and Patrol Sgt. Sean Vinson congratulate deputies who achieved awards from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office. From left are Lowery and Vinson, award winners Deputy Zachary Williams and Deputy John Wauchek, Fitzhugh, award winners Deputy Kody O’Donnell, Deputy Andrew Quintal and Deputy James Elliott and Reed.

Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office

Five Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office patrol deputies enforcing traffic safety laws earned awards Tuesday from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office.

Patrol Deputy Kody O’Donnell was selected as Deputy of the Year based on three traffic stops resulting in the seizure of a significant amounts of illegal drugs and almost $300,000 cash.

Patrol Cpl. John Wauchek received recognition for the Impaired Driver Award.

Patrol Deputies James Elliott, Andrew Quintal and Zachary Williams received recognition for the Beyond the Traffic Stop Award.

Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh thanked the deputies for their dedication in their duties.

“These deputies show their commitment for safety through removing illegal drugs and impaired drivers off the streets and returning escapees back to jail,” Fitzhugh said.

The awards were presented during the annual THSO Awards Luncheon.

Sgt. Sean Vinson, who nominated the deputies, reported O’Donnell stopped a driver for speeding on Interstate 24. A K9 indicated illegal drugs inside the vehicle. The deputy recovered $285,780 cash, marijuana and Adderall pills from the driver’s car.

He stopped another driver for speeding Jan. 28. As he approached the vehicle, he smelled marijuana. A search of the vehicle resulted seizing marijuana and pills believed to be Adderall, Ecstasy pills.

In an unrelated stop, O’Donnell noticed a vehicle with a registration violation parked at a truck stop. The clerk reported a female left a syringe in the bathroom with a substance inside.

“Deputy O’Donnell detained the subjects in the vehicle and a K-9 unit responded to the scene,” Vinson said. “The K-9 alerted on the vehicle and the search revealed 15.5 pounds of pink crystal substance believed to be Methamphetamine.”

Wauchek received honorable mention for the Impaired Driver Award for leading the Sheriff’s Office in the DUI saturation effort to reduce impaired drivers.

As a certified Drug Recognition Expert, Wauchek instructed other deputies with field sobriety tests.

“He has significantly improved the safety and overall security of the roadways of Rutherford County,” Vinson said.

Elliott, Quintal and Williams combined efforts to locate within hours a Rutherford County woman who escaped from a Chattanooga correctional facility. They used their experience and interviewed family members to track her to Davidson County where Metro Nashville Police located her.

“Deputies Elliot, Quintal and Williams have distinguished themselves by demonstrating clearly that they are exceptionally professional and highly dedicated deputies to the safety and security of the citizens of Rutherford County,” Vinson said.