Well known at Lake of the Ozarks, Echternacht has been an MSHP academy instructor, acting as swim instructor among other things, and was an officer with the Missouri State Water Patrol starting in December 2006.
The state trooper who jumped into the Lake of the Ozarks during the Shootout boating event last August has been formally honored by the Missouri State Highway Patrol for his life-saving actions.
Colonel Sandra K. Karsten, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, recognized Sgt. David F. Echternacht and 20 other employees honored at the patrol's annual awards and The MASTERS banquet last weekend. Family, friends and members of The MASTERS (Missouri Association of State Troopers Emergency Relief Society) gathered at the Holiday Inn Executive Center in Columbia.
"I'm proud to serve with such compassionate and brave individuals," said Colonel Karsten. "Every one of them is a credit to themselves and to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Congratulations to each of them."
On Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, then-Corporal Echternacht was one of the troopers assigned to the Shootout. He and his passengers, R.N. Stacy Turner and Dr. William Cravens, were located close to the finish line of the race course at the 34-mile marker of the Osage Arm. At approximately 11:45 a.m., Echternacht was scanning the crowd when Turner made him aware that a driver was losing control of his vessel.
The 22-foot Donzi Classic was traveling at approximately 109 mph when it became airborne, flipping upside down. When the boat violently impacted the water, its driver, Jeff McCann of Morehead, N.C., was ejected in front of thousands of spectators lining the course.
Echternacht quickly responded to the racer in distress, placed his boat into neutral and jumped feet first into the lake, swimming to McCann who was motionless and face down in the water. Echternacht reached McCann and shifted him onto his back so his face was out of the water.
McCann was unconscious and not breathing, so Echternacht reached under the race helmet the man was wearing and performed a modified jaw thrust successfully opening his airway. The man began to slowly regain consciousness and take shallow breaths. Moments later, Mid-County firefighters arrived and transported McCann to the hospital who made a full recovery.
Echternacht was later promoted to sergeant.
Well known at Lake of the Ozarks, Echternacht has been an MSHP academy instructor, acting as swim instructor among other things, and was an officer with the Missouri State Water Patrol starting in December 2006. He became part of the Highway Patrol after the 2011 merger of the two law enforcement agencies. He continued working regularly on Lake of the Ozarks until becoming an academy instructor in November 2014.
Echternacht was one of 10 troopers from around the state honored with a Lifesaving Award for actions in 2016. Others awarded included Trooper James E. Thuss, Troop A; Corporal Kyle E. Easley and Trooper David G. Gipson, Troop B; Corporal Larry A. Turner, Troop C; Troopers Logan B. Monahan and Shayne K. Talbot, Troop E; Troopers Marylyn A. Dickens and Brandon L. Harris, Troop F; and Trooper James R. Sauer, Q/GD.
Meritorious Service Awards were given to Troopers Grant A. Ayres and Tyler G. Zimmerman and Sgt. Jason H. Glendenning, Troop I. 2016 Civilian of the Year was given to Clerk Typist III C. Michele Parrott, Troop E. The Benjamin Oliver Booth Officer the Year was given to Trooper Corporal Perry C. Hazelwood III, Troop E.
Trooper Adam N. Miller, Troop E; Trooper Daniel A. Yingling, Troop C; and Trooper Rebecca L. Eagan, Q/GD, received Valor Awards, and Trooper D. Jason McBride, Troop E; and Corporal Jay A. Shirley, Q/GD; received Purple Heart Awards.
Trooper David A. Paulsen, assigned to marine enforcement in Troop A, received The MASTERS Public Service Award.