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Retired Apex police captain rescues woman but credits others

Posted January 28, 2015
Updated January 29, 2015

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— A retired Apex police captain rescued a woman whose vehicle ran off the road and overturned in a creek Saturday.

Retired Captain Mike Wilson was driving on Apex Barbecue Road near Kinship Lane around 3:40 p.m. when he noticed the crashed vehicle, according to police.

“I could tell she needed some help,” he said Thursday. “The water was moving fairly fast.”

The driver, Shannon Clayborne, was able to get out of the car but was stranded on a sandbar in the creek, unable to make it to the shoreline. Wilson went into the frigid water and tried to help her get to shore, but they both went into neck-deep water, police said.

“I know I went under twice,” he said.

They got back on the sandbar, and Wilson picked up Clayborne and tossed her toward the shoreline where another person helped her onto dry land. The other person's name was not released. Wilson then waded back into the creek and briefly went under water while making his way to the shore, police said.

“I kept thinking, did I miss something,” he said. “And I went back a second time to make sure nobody was in the car.”

Apex Police Chief John Letteney praised Wilson’s efforts.

"Captain Wilson immediately recognized the gravity of the situation and, with his training and experience, he knew what to do," he said in a statement. "His actions to help the motorist ensured she was safe as he went into the water to help her get to shore. Captain Wilson instinctively put helping others before his own safety and reflects the highest traditions of the Apex Police Department and the law enforcement profession."

But Wilson gives the credit to others.

“There was another gentleman trying to help me,” he said. “There was a police officer after I got out looking after me. I don’t get all the credit.”

In February, Wilson will receive an award from the town for his efforts.

He retired from the police department in 2010 after serving for 25 years. Since his retirement, he has worked in a reserve capacity with the department and serves as a school resource officer at local elementary schools each morning, police said. 

56 Comments

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  • LetsBeFair Jan 30, 2015

    a class act. thanks for never leaving the job.

  • Michael Miller Jan 30, 2015
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    This is the first I heard of it, so it's **NEWS** to me. I heard we landed on the moon as well....AWESOME!!!

  • NotLiberal Jan 30, 2015

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    You are simply digging your hole deeper.

  • LovemyPirates Jan 30, 2015

    Had those around had no way to call 911 or for some other reason, properly equipped rescue workers not been able to get there in time, or if the woman was being threatened by rising water then maybe his actions would have been a situation when protocol wasn't the way to proceed. Although uncomfortable being cold and wet, this woman wasn't in danger. This location was less than 4 miles from a fire department. It turned out well this time. Next time, it may not. Did anyone even try to call 911? I can assure you and know from personal experience, if you call 911 and let them know car or person is in such a situation, they come quickly. I didn't wait around for the news crew but I was the one who called 911 and shouted encouragement from the shore. This didn't make the news so maybe I or the couple who also shouted from the shore weren't heros. Again, glad this turned out well.

  • JPack Jan 30, 2015

    Heroes don't wear capes! God bless him!

  • srsosu85 Jan 30, 2015

    I have known Mike for many years, and am not surprised by his actions to help this woman. He is a class act.

  • TWAL Jan 30, 2015

    Wral you probaly need to remove comments made on Teens Robbed!!! For Real.

  • NotLiberal Jan 30, 2015

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    Thanks to your father and thanks to you for your post. You have to realize there is a cadre of posters who try to make every story racial and another who despise law enforcement and use every opportunity to sit behind their anonymous computer name to spew hate. Don't let them get to you. Your father is a hero and by definition there is no protocol to heroism.

  • Rick Fetter Jan 30, 2015
    user avatar

    He is a good man. We need more people with his sheepdog view of the world.

  • moomoo Jan 29, 2015

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    No one said to "throw out protocol". However, in some instances,(such as an emergency of this nature), "protocol" is not the way to proceed. In a perfect scenario, maybe, but not this one. Common sense sometimes is the best "protocol" and I would say it prevailed in this matter.

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