It was one of the worst calls they’ve ever been on, but training and years of experience helped two deputies manage their emotions and take what were possibly life-saving actions for survivors of a double fatality crash last week.

It was one of the worst calls they’ve ever been on, but training and years of experience helped two deputies manage their emotions and take what were possibly life-saving actions for survivors of a double fatality crash last week.

Camden County Deputy Sheriff Gary Cyrus and Patrol Sergeant Steve Eden were two of the first officers to the scene of the two-vehicle collision that occurred south of the Highway 5 Niangua Bridge March 22. 

Drivers Jessica Brazil, 33, of Camdenton and Amber Metcalfe, 32, of Versailles were both killed in the accident. Three children in the vehicle with Brazil suffered serious injuries. Jordan Brazil, 4, Malachi Brazil, 2, and a six-year-old child identified by the initials J.P. were transported to hospitals in the region for treatment.

Recalling the incident, Eden said the call came in almost immediately after their shift had started, around 7 a.m. He had heard the dispatch tone, which had alerted him to a head-on accident with injuries and vehicles on fire. Cyrus was also present for the dispatch and the two set off to the scene. 

First on-scene, Eden was met by a man and a woman who approached him with a child cradled in their arms. Eden began CPR. 

Cyrus arrived on the scene shortly after and began to check on the other children. Lake West Ambulance drove up soon after and took the child from Eden for further medical assistance. Eden directed Cyrus to move the ambulance out of the way to make room for fire trucks to move in to control the flames, and as he was moving the ambulance, paramedics within told him to drive the vehicle straight to the hospital.

Remaining at the scene as more and emergency workers arrived, Eden continued to help however he could, helping remove the children from the vehicle and get them medical attention. Cyrus would eventually make his was back to the scene and helped with traffic. 

With many years of experience, the deputies have responded to many fatal accident. While Eden said the emotional toll that is required for these calls is not something that is new to either of them, he believes it is always more stressful when children are involved.

“Of course you feel bad when it’s an adult involved, but with a kid, you know they haven’t had their chance yet,” said Eden.

Throughout his more 25 years as an officer, Cyrus said this call was the most stressful situation he’s been a part of. To have so many young lives involved and in need of attention, while also being a grandpa himself, the stakes involved hit him the moment he arrived on scene. Even so, Cyrus said he was able to do his job efficiently. 

“When you get there, you just settle down and do what you need to do,” he said.

After the crash, Cyrus said his body felt an immediate drop in adrenaline and that he felt “absolutely exhausted.” 

Prioritizing the multiple aspects of the crash site is something that Eden said comes easier with time on the job. When he arrived, he said that he knew the quickest thing he could take control of was the child that was being brought to him. Though there were multiple people involved, fire and service vehicles arriving left and right, this was the choice that could be attended to quickest. 

Eden and Cyrus said can be difficult to move on after these types of fatal accidents, but that they get a lot of support from a community of police officers who have all been there. 

“I’ve got a good group of folks around me that are available if I need to talk or rant after something like this,” Eden said. “They’ve been there, they understand.”

Cyrus described it as a family-like support system that is always available. 

After so many calls over the years, Eden said it is not as much of a shock but it never truly gets easier. There is always sympathy for the family and worry for the status of everyone involved, he said, but in order to walk away without letting it linger, he looks at the positive actions that he and the other responders around him were able to take. 

“It’s always a concern to know what condition the child is in, but at the end of the day I feel like I’ve done everything that was in my power to save a life, and that helps me get through,” Eden said.