By NOREEN HYSLOP
When a local law officer was assaulted Monday night, there were several witnesses on the parking lot on Business Hwy. 60 where the incident occurred. Many of them scattered when the officer was struck by one of the individuals involved in a fight that brought police to the scene initially.
One young woman remained, however. When Officer Kevin Moore went down from a blow to the head and sirens began to wail toward the uncertain scene, 18-year-old Tasha Rodgers remained - not only as a witness, but to do everything in her power to make certain Moore was in good hands until help could arrive. She was the person who called for an ambulance for Officer Kevin Moore.
The scene was an ugly one and not for the squeamish. Moore hit the ground with such force that it shattered the bone above his right eye. There was massive bleeding, and he rolled in and out of consciousness.
Yet, without hesitation, the Dexter High School senior made herself available to comfort the officer, actually breaking his fall after Moore tried to stand up following the punch.
While the other responding officer was trying to restrain one of the assailants and Moore lay unmoving, awaiting for an ambulance, the young woman rested Moore's bleeding head in her lap, with the presence of mind to continually ask the officer pertinent questions, all the while putting pressure on his wound.
"I asked him his name and what day it was and things like that," Tasha said in a conversation Tuesday. "I remember asking him his badge number, and that was the only thing he could tell me - that his badge number was 923."
So, what made the soft-spoken 18-year-old respond in a manner befitting a much more mature adult?
"I just reacted," she says. "He needed someone to stay with him. I couldn't have just left him lying there by himself. I hoped I could make him more comfortable until the ambulance got there."
Dexter Police Chief Sammy Stone heard of the efforts of the young woman Monday night, but no one seemed to know her name. Tasha left the scene after the ambulance came and it was only Tuesday when her parents made contact with The Daily Statesman to inquire about Moore's condition, that her identity was revealed.
"I just wanted to make sure he was ok," she says, "and I didn't know where they took him in St. Louis."
Tasha's parents were pleased to tell her Officer Moore was reportedly improving at St. Louis University Hospital. And as soon as the veteran policeman is able, he, along with Chief Stone, will be honoring Tasha for going "above and beyond" in remaining with the fallen officer until EMS personnel could come to his aid.
"We need more people like Tasha around," said Chief Stone. "We're all grateful for what she did, and we all look forward to a time in the near future when we can get Kevin and Tasha together so that he can personally thank her for all she did. She's a special girl."