18:36 PM

Tampa International Airport police officer gets a surprise visit from motorcyclist whose life he saved

Officer Ryan Runge earned the department’s Life Saving Award after clearing the rider’s airway following a March accident, then met the man onstage during last week’s ceremony.


A Tampa International Airport Police Officer who was recognized for saving a motorcycle crash victim’s life got a surprise visit at the award ceremony last week from the man he saved. 

Officer Ryan Runge was on patrol March 15 when he saw smoke at the intersection of Air Cargo Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. A van and motorcycle had collided, and the rider was lying face down in the road.

TIAPD-runge-demarais-award.jpgRunge noted the motorcyclist, Jarid Demarais, was not breathing. Working with an unidentified off-duty nurse and off-duty EMT who were passing by, Runge helped clear Demarais’ airway, which likely saved the rider’s life.

Officer Runge, who has been with the department one year this month, earned the TIAPD’s  Life Saving Award on Aug. 19 for his actions. He was then surprised with a visit from Demarais, who attended the ceremony and embraced Runge on stage in the Main Terminal.

“I was able to be in the right place at the right time,” Runge said. “Instincts took over and I was able to use my training to help save him. … I’m glad he’s here with us and he’s walking and able to use his arms and legs.”

Demarais, who has been working on a slow but steady recovery, said he suffered from memory loss after the accident but had been waiting weeks to meet Runge again.

“I don’t remember any of it at all, during the crash and two weeks after,” a tearful Demarais said to Runge. “Thank you again for saving my life.”