Police officer saves Valentine’s Day for child hurt in crash

Posted at 8:58 AM, Mar 05, 2014
Officer Stegall and Najah (PHOTO: Crewe Police)

Officer Stegall and Najah (PHOTO: Crewe Police)

CREWE, Va. (WTVR) - A little girl who broke her leg in a car accident may have missed her school Valentine's Day party, but she received an extra dose of Valentine's Day love -- thanks to a police officer who went above and beyond the call of duty.

For little girls like Najah Zarif, Valentines Day is a pretty big deal especially at school. But this year her heart was broken not by a classmate, but a bone.

When Crewe Police Officer Jonathan Baxter Stegall arrived at the Feb. 17 car crash on Route 460, he knew immediately that six-year-old Najah broke her leg in the accident.

Najah's mother Tracy was behind the wheel when she slammed into a car stopped in the middle of the road.

“She was hollering and she was in pain,” said Tracy. “It was the worst thing in the world.”

Officer Baxter Stegall got to the scene and noticed Najah was hurting. Stegall stayed with Najah until paramedics rushed her to the hospital.

“I have a daughter about the same age and I thought about my daughter being in the same position,” said Stegall.

While comforting the child, Najah told Stegall her school Valentine's Day party was the next day. Najah's injuries forced her to miss the party.

After the accident Officer Stegall used his own money to buy Najah a Valetine's Day box filled with candy, trinkets and toys.

“The police officer came and gave me gifts for my own Valentine's party,” said Najah.

"Everyone needs a Valentine, so on March 4 officers went to Najah's house and had a belated Valentine's Day gathering, delivering candy, cards and more," Crewe Police posted, along with a photo, on Facebook. "These SpongeBob-themed Valentines were signed by Crewe Police Officers, Nottoway Sheriff Deputies, court clerks, dispatchers and the Commonwealth Attorney."

“I just to know that someone other than her family cares about her it's a great feeling,” said Tracy.

This isn't  the first time Officer Baxter is making headlines. In 2008, Officer Stegall was involved in a head on collision responding to a call. The driver of the other vehicle didn't survive.

“It something I always have to live with,” says Stegall.

Officer Stegall thinks about the fatal crash every day, but it hasn't stopped him from helping people.

He took to the oath to protect and serve. Making Najah smile isn't just mending a broken leg it is helping two hearts heal.

Najah’s mother Tracy says, “It wasn't about his job that day. It was about having compassion for another human being.”

Najah has has another six weeks of physical therapy. She should return to school in early May.

This act of kindness has prompted an out-pouring of support on the Crewe Police Facebook page.

"What an awesome act of kindness. So glad this little one was able to still have her Valentine's party," Catherine Gallagher Hite commented.

"Hooray to Crewe Police and the Nottoway Sheriff'  Department for making a little girl feel good!" Leroy Blackwell added.