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MHP Troop M officer ‘caught’ in selfless act

A Brookhaven-based Mississippi Highway Patrol officer was “caught in the act” assisting an elderly driver recently following a traffic accident.

Troop M Trooper James Stokes was in Amite County on the night of Dec. 4 when he noticed a 1980s Ford pickup slow and veer off the roadway into a ditch. Responding to the incident, Stokes found an elderly woman traveling alone.

Though she had no injuries and her vehicle sustained only minor damages, Trooper Stokes did not think she was in good enough shape to attempt to continue traveling to her home in Baton Rouge.

When attempts to contact members of the woman’s family were unsuccessful, Trooper Stokes obtained permission from his superior officer to provide her safe transport to her home.

Blalock’s Body Shop towed the woman’s vehicle to the sheriff’s office nearby— at no charge — to remain until the woman was able to reclaim it.

When the Louisiana woman returned to claim her truck the following Monday, Trooper Stokes met her and filled her gas tank at his own expense.

Before she left, the woman asked for a photo with the officer who was so kind to her.

“This sort of thing happens all the time,” said Troop M Public Relations Officer Cpl. Craig James. “But no one wants to draw attention to themselves. The only reason I knew about this was an officer with Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics took a picture of him pumping the gas and posted it online.”

Cpl. James reposted the photo on Troop M’s Facebook page, writing, “Trooper Stokes, you got caught pumping and paying for an 85 year old lady’s fuel at your own expense.”

“Every trooper does this kind of thing. It’s just part of doing our job,” Cpl. James said.

It’s not unheard of for troopers to buy gas or meals for people who need a helping hand, he said. In one instance, a trooper covered the cost of a hotel room for someone he thought should get a good night’s rest before traveling on. It’s just a matter of looking out for one another, Cpl. James said.

“All my Troopers want to do is make sure people are safe.”