PEMBROKE, N.H. – After a day of working ski patrol at McIntyre Ski Area in Manchester, Staff Sgt. Dantè Davis merged onto the Everett Turnpike northbound. In an instant, an otherwise routine commute home on a Sunday afternoon in February called upon Davis’s military training to prevent a tragic consequence.
Soon after entering the interstate, Davis was abruptly cut off by a box truck.
“It didn’t seem like much,” recalled Davis, a team leader with the NH Army Guard’s 237th Military Police Company. “I thought, ‘Whoa, maybe he didn’t see me.’”
But the truck’s erratic operation continued.
“He was swerving aggressively left and right, almost like he was trying to run cars off the road,” Davis said. “I initially thought this might be like a diabetic emergency, seizure, or stroke behind the wheel.”
When the truck forced a Jeep off the road, Davis called 911. As he was giving the dispatcher a description of the vehicle, the truck suddenly veered into a Hooksett rest area, crashing into a gas pump.
What Davis didn’t know at the time was that the driver of the truck had fled the scene of an incident in Manchester after refusing to stop for police. An unmarked, Manchester police cruiser had been pursuing the suspect.
“It escalated so fast,” said Davis, who had followed the pursuit into the rest area. “It went from the officer saying, ‘Get out of the car,’ to the guy trying to run away.”
When the suspect began to fight with the officer, Davis exited his vehicle and ran to the officer’s aid. Together, they subdued the man just as backup arrived.
For his actions that day, Davis was awarded the Army Achievement Medal. At an April 11 ceremony, Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenberg also presented Davis with a certificate of recognition on behalf of the Manchester Police Department.
“Sgt. Davis wasn’t armed, so it’s just his two hands, his brain and his military experience,” Aldenberg said. “He put himself at risk. To do that speaks to him as a Soldier and as a person. He was doing the right thing when no one was watching.”
Davis’s command agreed. It wasn’t out of character for a Soldier with such a distinguished career, which includes a combat deployment to Afghanistan, they said.
“If it was going to be anyone in my platoon who wasn’t a [civilian] police officer anyway, it would be Staff Sgt. Davis,” said 1st Lt. James Lawrence, Davis’s platoon leader in the 237th. “He makes me very proud to be in this company, and he does a great job passing that knowledge to other members.”
Davis said he was just happy to help.
“I’m appreciative,” Davis said. “That’s what it’s all about for me. I like people. I like serving people, and I just thank God for the opportunity to help somebody.”