Erving officer Loynd commended for saving trooper

  • Loynd

Staff Writer
Published: 1/14/2019 8:53:05 PM

ERVING — The officer credited with saving the life of a state trooper allegedly being stabbed by a carjacking suspect has had another letter of commendation added to his personnel file.

Officer James Loynd followed department policy and procedures in the heroic actions he took on Oct. 19, 2018, to save Trooper Mark Whitcomb’s life following a high-speed chase that ended in New Salem when the suspect crashed the vehicle he is accused of stealing in New Hampshire.

“Officer Loynd not only conducted himself professionally and responsibly but undeniably saved human lives that day,” Erving Police Chief Christopher Blair wrote in the letter, which also states Loynd displayed restraint during the incident.

According to the letter, Loynd was on duty on Oct. 19 when he received a radio transmission that the Massachusetts State Police was pursuing a vehicle that exited Route 91 east onto Route 2. Loynd located the reportedly stolen vehicle speeding through Erving.

“Officer Loynd used great judgment and discontinued the pursuit through the center of town due to the extremely erratic operation of the suspect vehicle and the heavy flow of traffic. He continued to the town line and observed east of the town a Massachusetts state trooper had resumed the pursuit,” Blair wrote. “Officer Loynd observed the trooper was alone and decided to follow behind the trooper.”

The suspect, Nghia V. Le, 18, of Manchester, N.H., came to a stop between 2 and 3 p.m. after crashing into an object near the intersection of Route 202 and Fay Road in New Salem. Police say Le had been involved in a motor vehicle crash in Walpole, N.H., and stole a Toyota Camry belonging to the other driver, a 72-year-old woman. Le then allegedly fled to Vermont, and south on Interstate 91 to Massachusetts.

“It was later observed on cruiser video that the armed suspect was running toward a woman and child. It was later believed that the suspect’s intent was to commit another armed carjacking of the woman and child. Officer Loynd pulled in behind the trooper and observed the trooper was being savagely stabbed by the suspect,” the letter states.

Loynd rushed at the knife-wielding suspect and shot him in the torso, incapacitating him. Loynd then rendered lifesaving first aid to the severely injured trooper using a medical kit he kept in his cargo pocket. Whitcomb was taken by LifeFlight helicopter to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester and later released. Le was taken to the medical center as well and was released on Oct. 26. He has since pleaded innocent to charges of armed assault with intent to murder, armed assault with intent to rob, mayhem, aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, armed carjacking, assault and battery upon a public employee, assault with a dangerous weapon, and reckless operation.

Blair told The Recorder that Loynd exhibited bravery in saving Whitcomb’s life. He said the Oct. 19 was the first police-involved shooting in the history of Erving Police Department, which got its first full-time chief in 1974, according to the town’s website. Loynd was not in the station when The Recorder called Monday. The letter was given to Loynd on Dec. 1 and the Erving Selectboard formally accepted it to add it to the officer’s personnel record.

Erving Administrative Coordinator Bryan Smith said he cannot imagine what Loynd had to experience that day.

“He is one of the best town employees we have and on that day his actions were nothing short of professional and heroic,” Smith said. “We’re very lucky to have him and lucky he’s safe.”

Blair said Loynd received two letters of commendation in 2018. The first, the chief said, was for using restraint to peacefully resolve an incident involving a knife-wielding suicidal man on the French King Bridge a year ago.

According to a May 7, 2014, post on the Erving Police Department’s Facebook page, Loynd joined the department in 2006. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.




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