Life saving trooper honored
Jim Thompson spotted Jeff Schoonover’s car under a bridge on a Nava r ro C ou nt y road. Schoonover was inside, 36 hours after his car plunged off the remote bridge.
Thompson is a former employee of the Milam County Sheriff’s Department and is the son of Nancy Clark of Rockdale and the late T. M. Thompson.
The three-year state trooper, now assigned to Williamson County, was cited by DPS Director Steve Mc Craw for “demonstrating an extraordinary degree of vigilance.”
The w reck v ictim’s family credits Thompson with saving Schoonover’s life. “Jim refused to give up,” a statement from the Schoonover and Lewis families read.
Schoonover failed to return home from work on Dec. 15, triggering a search by his family which became increasingly frantic as the missing man did not turn up.
But on Dec. 17 Thompson, who had travelled several times over a rural bridge, stopped and looked over the side.
“I don’t know what made me stop,” he told the family. There, in the mud, he saw a Toyota emblem.
It was Schoonover’s car. He had been inside it for 36 hours. Thompson started the rescue by yelling “I’m coming to get you, buddy!”
When Thompson made it down to the car, 90 feet below in kneedeep mud, he brought a first-aid bag, two towels, a hoodie and a cell phone. Schoonover got to talk to his mother briefly.
Prior to entering law enforcement, Thompson served four years in the U. S. Navy.