Sunny Freeman awarded Chief's Coin for heroic action after motorcycle crash

by: REVIEW PHOTO: CLIFF NEWELL - It was a happy occasion for the Freeman family of Lake Oswego when Sunny Freeman was awarded the Chief's Coin on July 16. From left: LOPD Lt. Doug Treat, Anika Freeman (in front), Isabelle Freeman, Sunny Freeman and LOPD Chief Don Johnson.When a motorcycle crashed on Highway 43 in late June, sending its driver in one direction and his 4-year-old granddaughter in another, Sunny Freeman jumped into action.

“Sunny parked her own car to block ongoing cars from reaching Kayilee,” Lake Oswego Police Chief Don Johnson said. “She ran through traffic to reach Kaylee, risking her own life. Kayilee wouldn’t have been able to get out of the way of the traffic if it hadn’t been for Sunny.”

For her efforts to help little Kayilee Johns, Freeman was honored Wednesday with the Chief's Coin in a ceremony at Lake Oswego City Hll. It's a rare honor — only the third award for acts of heroism that Johnson has handed out in his three years as chief — but one that was certainly deserved.

Here's what happened:

On June 30, a motorcycle driven by the Kayilee’s grandfather, Steve Pontius, was headed down Highway 43 when it slammed into a curb and was knocked to the street.

“The man went one way and Kayilee went another and landed on her head,” Johnson said. Freeman saw the accident while driving a vehicle that had two of her own children as passengers, and she acted with the utmost quickness.

After blocking traffic with her car, she rushed to the child's side and immediately worked to calm the little girl, who, as Johnson noted, immediately formed a connection with the woman who saved her life and clung to her until she was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

Freeman was able to check Kayilee’s condition because she had been a pediatric emergency room technician for years. She held Kayilee firmly along the spine and found that the child had not been badly injured, even though she had been hurled 30 feet when the motorcycle hit the curb.

“I just knew I had to react,” Freeman said. “It was so instant and automatic. Kayilee was crying for her mother. I was able to calm her down. She wouldn’t let go of me until she got into the ambulance.”

At first it was thought that Kayilee might have suffered serious injuries, according to LOPD Lt. Doug Treat. But she suffered only minor scrapes and bruises, and her grandfather also escaped injury.

Freeman accepted her award with gratitude and grace. She also noted that it was not the first time she'd helped somebody in a serious automobile accident, having once gone to the aid of an 80-year-old driver after an accident on Terwilliger Boulevard.

Freeman is now a real estate broker for Windermere Real Estate, but it's obvious that her emergency medical skills are still razor sharp. And for that, Johnson said, he was proud and grateful.

“First of all, we want to thank you,” Johnson said to Freeman. “Second, we hope this honor encourages other people to look at what someone from our community did.”

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