OREM, Utah (ABC4 News) He saved a life and nearly lost his own life out on the highways of Utah. And he says, it’s just part of the job that he loves. In this week’s Behind the Badge report, we get to know Trooper Kerry Ball.
“As I was walking back to my car when I heard the tires screeching across the asphalt after they left the ice.”
That car slammed into a vehicle in Spanish Fork Canyon and then crushes the legs of a tow truck driver.
“And then I knew – ‘Oh no, we’ve got something major now.'”
Major indeed. The tow truck driver had two broken legs with a compound fracture that wouldn’t stop bleeding until Trooper Kerry Ball applied a tourniquet to his leg.
Don Hudson asks: “My understanding is you saved that guy’s life.”
Trooper Ball: “You could look at it that way. Had we not had somebody there – the response time in the canyon – there’s that possibility that he could have bled out.”
Dealing with that is not what Trooper Ball imagined when he signed up to serve and protect, but he says it’s all part of a job he has wanted to do since childhood.
“I would say probably (it was) elementary school that I realized I wanted to be a police officer.”
He says his father, who is in law enforcement with the Moter Vehicle Enforcement Division, no doubt had something to do with that dream. And, if that wasn’t enough, his older brother became a police officer as well.
“I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to be a part of that cause where you feel like you’re doing something where you make a difference.”
He’s been on the road with UHP now for six years covering both the Moab area and Utah County.
Don Hudson asks: “Do you feel you make a difference with your job and how?”
Trooper Ball: “I feel like I have. Between stopping cars and slowing people down and just kind of getting the point across that they need to drive slower and they need to drive the speed limit. I feel every day that we do save lives by slowing people down on the freeways.”
He also helps by doing things he hadn’t planned to do – like busting drug dealers.
“Ended up pulling the driver out and searched the car and in that search, we found fourteen pounds of crystal meth. Four big bags out of the center consul and ten other bags out of a duffle bag in the back.”
Trooper Ball says that is one of the reasons he loves police work. You never know what is going to happen. And in his case – one of those “didn’t see it coming” moments almost cost him his life.
“I was setting up my last flare when two cars came out of the number one lane and into our lane closure and spun out of control. You throw your flare on the road as you run and jump up on the wall and jumping up and hoping the cars miss you. They missed me by about a foot or two feet.”
They missed Trooper Ball, but they took out his car.
Ball says that close call is what really defines law enforcement officers because a few seconds after avoiding your own tragedy – we quickly turn our attention to the people who almost killed us.
“You have those moments. I almost died because of you and now I have to put that aside and make sure that you’re going to survive that you’re OK. That’s what we do.”
Trooper Ball says he knows motorists often look at UHP as ticket writers, but he says that is not the case. He explains that in the bonus material online. Check it out, watch past Behind the Badge stories and nominate a first responder for a future story by going to https://www.abc4.com/badge