It was shortly past midnight on July 18, 2020, in the city of Auburn, King County, Washington when Deputy Elliot arrived at the scene of a vehicular accident. Although off duty, Deputy Elliot was in a marked patrol car driving home after her shift, when she came upon multiple vehicles involved in the accident. She was informed by one driver that the driver who caused the wreckage was trying to flee the scene and he was drunk. Deputy Elliot went back into work mode and attempted to do her job. She saw the suspected drunk driver stumbling away and called out for him to stop but he kept walking. She approached the drunk driver having had to jog to catch up with him to detain him. Once she caught up to him and made contact in an effort to arrest him, the drunk became belligerent and initiated a physical altercation. Deputy Elliot was able to wrestle the man to the ground and called for back-up. Suddenly the suspected drunk driver gained the upper hand and was on top of the deputy. He was able to get his arms around her neck and placed her in a chokehold. He began to squeeze.

On the verge of losing consciousness, the deputy was able to hear voices yelling at the man to get off her. Five local teenagers, ranging in age from 16-19 years, approached and came to the aid of Deputy Elliot. They jumped on the suspected drunk driver, wrestling with him and pulling him off the deputy. The teens were able to hold him on the ground, pinning his legs and shoulders, so the deputy could get free and place the handcuffs on him. He was arrested for felony assault of an officer and driving under the influence. It was soon discovered at this time that he had several other warrants for his arrest, including DUI and driving with a suspended license. Deputy Elliot was scrapped and bruised but, fortunately, not seriously injured. This story would not have had a happy ending if the drunk was allowed to continue to choke the officer. But for these five brave men, this story could have had a very sad ending. These men quite possibly saved the life of Deputy Elliot.

On August 3, 2020, the King County Sheriff honored those five men. They were given the Medal of Heroism Award. This award is the highest award a civilian can receive from the sheriff’s office. At the ceremony, Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht said: “On her (Deputy Elliot) behalf, I have to thank you. She believes, and I believe had you not been there for her on this day, she might not be alive.” Later on the day of the incident, the Sheriff wrote on Facebook: “Moms and Dads, you should be proud of these kids!” referring to the 5 young men. The heroes have been identified as 16-year-old Darrell Swilley, 17-year-old Isaiha Sansaver, 18-year-old Tyran Powell, 18-year-old Kai Tavares and 19-year-old Dominic Sansaver.