Local Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Cody Enloe is receiving statewide and national attention following his Valentine’s Day rescue of three children pinned inside a truck which overturned into a watery ditch in McCurtain County — including an infant whose head was submerged, upside-down, in the vehicle’s crumpled cab.

A 2011 McAlester High School graduate, Enloe has been personally contacted by Gov. Kevin Stitt who thanked him for his heroic actions.

“I’m really overwhelmed with all this,” Enloe told the News-Capital on Friday. “I never would have sought this recognition.

“The way I saw it that night, it’s just my job.”

Enloe, who was a member of the 65th OHP Academy, told the governor he hasn’t been a trooper for long and has been working on the road for eight or nine months.

Many of those who know Enloe aren’t surprised that his cool demeanor and quick reactions are credited with making the rescues from the smashed cab of a partially submerged truck possible.

Although he works McCurtain County out of Troop E Oklahoma Highway Patrol headquarters in Durant, his home is still in McAlester.

Enloe is a former member of the Blanco Volunteer Fire Department, the McAlester Fire Department, the Pittsburg County Swift Water Rescue Team and is also a former Pittsburg County Reserve Deputy.

His father, who is Pittsburg County Office of Emergency Management Director Kevin Enloe, said the training Cody Enloe received in Pittsburg County prepared him to act swiftly and remain calm during an emergency.

As a result, Cody Enloe is credited with saving the lives of a 2-year-old girl, a 1-year old boy, and a 2-month-old-infant.

The single rollover accident occurred around 6:15 p.m. on Feb. 14 in the Harris area on U.S. Highway 259 South, according to information from the McCurtain County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies were informed that an overturned vehicle was “upside down, in water, with people trapped.”

Cody Enloe was among the first to respond.

“It was definitely a very chaotic scene,” Cody Enloe said. “We could hear the kids screaming; we knew they were in the vehicle.”

Enloe said the wrecked vehicle was a Chevy pickup, upside down, in two feet of water. Because of the smashed and crumpled cab, the doors to the truck were stuck, although individuals were working feverishly to open them.

“There were some bystanders trying their hardest with tools they had,” Enloe said. Still, the doors wouldn’t budge.

Members of the Haworth Volunteer Fire Department also responded. With his background training with the McAlester Fire Department, Enloe helped them set up the Jaws of Life

“I’d been with the fire department for five years in McAlester,” Enloe said. “I had experience with the tools.”

With children inside still screaming, they finally got the door open. Enloe said he saw a little girl in her car seat next to the door.

“We got her out,” he said. Continuing to work, he also removed a little boy from the truck.

Bystanders had been yelling that two children were in the vehicle. As the second child was brought out, some began to walk away. However, Enloe’s training kicked in and he decided to take another look.

“I never really had an active count,” Enloe said. “Bystanders were saying there were two kids in the car. I went back for one last check.”

He’s glad he did.

The pickup had a back seat, When he looked, Enloe saw an upside-down car seat with an infant whose head was partially submerged under the cold water. Part of the child’s skin was already turning blue. He said he placed his hand over the infant’s mouth to keep the child from taking in any more water.

Enloe said the car seat was so entangled in the seat belt, that it had to be cut before the child could be removed.

Once he had the infant freed and out of the water, Enloe began life-saving procedures.

“I flipped him over and performed back thrusts, “ he said, which resulted in the child expelling water. Enloe said he performed CPR until he reached an EMS responder who took the child inside an ambulance to continue the life-saving techniques.

A short time later, Enloe went to the ambulance to check on the three children and their mother, who had suffered injuries in the rollover accident and had been in shock, Bystanders had already removed the mother from the truck before he arrived, said Enloe, and she was placed inside the first ambulance at the scene.

Still, he didn’t know if the attempts to save the smallest child had been successful — until he heard a noise.

“I heard that infant crying — it was a great sign,” Enloe said. “I felt relieved, joyful.”

Enloe is a father, himself. He and his wife, Sydnie, have a 3-year-old son.

McCurtain County deputies were among those praising Enloe’s quick actions the night of the accident.

When McCurtain County deputies arrived on the scene, they saw trooper Enloe was already there, along with the Haworth Volunteer Fire Department.

“Trooper Enloe was actively controlling the scene, and assisting with setting up life-saving equipment,” said McCurtain County Sheriff’s Deputy Curtis Fields in a statement he provided to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

“Trooper Enloe hooked up the Jaws of Life, all while the screams of the children were visibly shaking first responders, creating a sense of panic. However, Trooper Enloe remained calm and in charge.”

Fields said that Enloe, while knee-deep in water, guided firefighters in using the Jaws of Life and manually pried on the truck doors until he accessed the passenger compartment.

With the truck doors finally opened “Trooper Enloe began extricating children from the back seat,” Fields said in his statement. “Firefighters and bystanders were both yelling that there were two children inside the vehicle.”

Enloe handed a toddler to a firefighter and then cut the seatbelt of an infant and handed the child to Fields. He, in turn, handed the infant to Deputy John Jones.

At that point, many of those present thought the rescue had been completed, Fields said in his account.

“When I turned around, I saw that some of the people around the truck were starting to walk away,” Fields said. Then he saw Enloe climb head-first into the “partially submerged, upside down truck.”

“Trooper Enloe came back out with another infant in a car seat,” Fields said. “The infant’s nose and lips were already turning blue. Trooper Enloe immediately began infant back thrusts, and I saw fluid expel from the infant’s mouth.

“By the time Trooper Enloe got the infant to the waiting ambulance, I could hear the infant began to cry,” Fields said. “There is no doubt in my mind that Trooper Enloe saved the lives of those three children.”

Fields said he has been in law enforcement in Oklahoma for 10 years and has seen many horrific and terrible things in his career.

“The professionalism and competence that was exhibited by Trooper Cody Enloe on this day will be something I remember for the rest of my life,” he said. “Trooper Cody Enloe, while being a first-year trooper, performed with all the skill and professionalism of a veteran officer.”

Meanwhile, Emergency Manager Director Kevin Enloe has no problem admitting he’s a proud father.

“He’s a hometown, homegrown hero,” Kevin Enloe said of his son. “I’m extremely proud of what he’s accomplished in his life and what he’s done in Pittsburg County.

“I work with emergency responders every day. When you can remain calm, cool, level-headed in the face of adversity, you can’t say enough about that.

“He’s a special young man.”

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com

Contact James Beaty by email at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

James Beaty is senior editor at the McAlester News-Capital