Orange County Deputy Sheriff Jeremy Yela has been named the 2010 New York State Deputy of the Year by the New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institute. Orange County Sheriff Carl DuBois nominated Deputy Yela for the award.

This highly coveted award was established in 1977, given annually to a deputy sheriff who has displayed outstanding courage and heroism in the line of duty. The Awards Committee of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institute selected Deputy Yela from nominations submitted by Sheriffs from across the State. The award was presented at the Sheriffs’ Institute’s Annual Awards Luncheon, which was held in Albany on February 23rd.

Deputy Jeremy Yela was off duty and attending a function at a restaurant for a friend who had just returned from a combat assignment in Afghanistan. While in the restaurant Deputy Yela overheard a commotion involving a disorderly patron. The patron was argumentative and combative and was immediately ejected from the premises by a restaurant employee.

Deputy Yela moved toward the restaurant entrance and overhead the ejected patron saying, he be back with a knife. Following him out Deputy Yela saw the man get into an SUV, started the engine and began racing the engine. Then suddenly, without any warning, he accelerated directly toward the restaurant. Deputy Yela and another person were directly in his path.    

As the SUV picked up speed Deputy Yela and person next to him were able to jump out of it’s path before it struck the restaurant’s front doors. The operator of the SUV then backed up about 20 feet, apparently ready to drive toward Deputy Yela and other people who were in front of the restaurant.

At this point Deputy Yela immediately ran toward the driver’s side of the SUV. The driver, griping the wheel intensely, staring straight ahead put the vehicle’s transmission in the drive position. At this point Deputy Yela drew his service revolver and opened the drivers side door of the SUV as he displayed his Sheriff’s ID and shield and repeatedly shouted, “police, do not move.”

The driver ignored these warnings and accelerated the vehicle knocking Deputy Yela backwards. The SUV continued forward striking patrons and pinning some against the restaurant wall. Deputy Yela fired his weapon, striking the driver disabling the subject and the motion of the vehicle.   

He pulled the motionless driver from the SUV. Then checked under vehicle to ensure nobody was trapped. He then called 911 on his cell phone requesting police and EMS.

The investigation of this incident, which was conducted by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, was presented to Grand Jury. The Grand Jury determined that Deputy Yela acted properly within the law.

Photo above: Deputy Jeremy Yela, (left) proudly holds the plaque signifying him as the New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institute’s 2010 Deputy of the Year. Joining in the award presentation, from left to right, is Sheriff Carl DuBois, who nominated Yela for the award; Sheriff Gary Maha, Genesee County, President of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association and Sheriff Ron Spike, Yates County, Chairman of the Sheriffs’ Institute Board of Directors.