Salisbury Lt. Corey Brooks honored for rescuing truck driver

Published 12:10 am Thursday, September 7, 2023

SALISBURY — When Salisbury Police Lieutenant Corey Brooks ran towards a tractor-trailer that had just hit a wall under an overpass on I-85, there was already a line of fire in front of the damaged vehicle.

On Aug. 8, around 9 p.m., Brooks was responding to a different call when he saw the accident and quickly sprang into action.

“Hey sir, you need to get out of the truck!” Brooks shouted at the driver as he opened the passenger side door. The driver, Michael Williams, turned out to be unconscious and wasn’t moving. The body camera footage shows how Brooks leapt up to unfasten the seat belt and pulled Williams out of the truck. According to a release describing what occurred, “an unidentified female driver” helped Brooks get Williams safely to the other side of the road. Just as they did, the truck erupted into flames.

Without Brooks’ heroic measures in the face of danger, Williams would not have survived. When emergency services arrived on the scene, Williams soon regained consciousness and was taken to Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist in Winston-Salem. It was later determined that Williams experienced a medical episode that resulted in his loss of consciousness, causing the crash.

On Sept. 5, during the Salisbury City Council meeting, Brooks was officially recognized for his brave efforts in saving Williams’ life. Brooks is a Sumter, S.C. native and has been a member of the Salisbury Police Department since 2001 and in law enforcement for nearly 25 years total. He holds a criminal justice degree from Livingstone College and an Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate from the N.C. Department of Justice. He currently serves as lieutenant of the criminal investigations/violent crimes unit.

“I’m proud to work alongside Lieutenant Brooks and his brave act does not begin to describe the character he represents,” Salisbury Police Chief Patrick “P.J.” Smith said. “Stories like these often do not make headlines, but they’re out there and I’m grateful to be able to provide an example of such a reflection of a positive police interaction as I do tonight.”

Video from that night was shown to a hushed crowd at the meeting. After it was finished, Smith presented Brooks with an act of bravery citation for his actions. Brooks has received a number of accolades throughout his tenure, including the city of Salisbury Keys to Excellence Bronze Award, Salisbury Police Veteran Officer of the Year, the 2016 Blue Line Brother Hood Award, and the Lions Club Salisbury Police Veteran of the Year Award.

“Out of 25 years, this is probably one of the scariest nights of my career,” Brooks said. “With that incident, either I was going to die in the truck with the gentleman or I was going to get him out of the truck. So, it took everything that I had to get him out of the truck.”

Brooks is thankful for the woman who came to assist him with getting Williams to safety. Brooks also had a message for Salisbury Fire Chief Bob Parnell about those who came to aid him after the explosion.

“I have never been so excited to see firetrucks into a call,” Brooks said.