Bravery beyond the call of duty

Four police officers and a civilian were recognized last night for acts of heroism and bravery at the annual awards ceremony for the Chester County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 11 in West Chester.

Phoenixville Police Sgt. Robert Sutton, Coatesville Police Officers Paul Antonucci, Robert Keuch and Claude Simpkins, and West Whiteland Township resident David Reynolds received plaques to commemorate their courage, organizers said.

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Phoenixville Sgt. Robert Sutton shows off the plaque he was presented by Assistant District Attorney Marilyn Seide (right), who successfully prosecuted the rapist whom Sutton apprehended.

Phoenixville Sgt. Robert Sutton was on routine patrol in the borough’s downtown district on March 15, 2010, when he saw something suspicious in the alcove of an apartment doorway. He exited his patrol car, and as he approached the building, he saw a man raping an unconscious female. He took the man into custody and sent a knife lying nearby to the lab, which found the victim’s DNA on it and led to a conviction.


On March 11, three Coatesville officers were on patrol when they observed a vehicle pulled off to the side of the road and a known drug dealer a short distance away. Officers Paul Antonucci, Robert Keuch and Claude Simpkins stopped and exited their vehicle and approached the parked car. They identified themselves and told the two occupants of the car not to move. Instead, the driver accelerated, heading toward Keuch and Simpkins. All three officers drew their weapons and fired. Keuch was struck by the vehicle and sustained a back injury, and both suspects sustained bullet wounds.

The civilian cited for heroism was David Reynolds, who ran outside his home in West Whiteland Township after hearing a crash on Feb. 27 and found a vehicle that had struck a traffic pole and was on fire. Disregarding his own safety, Reynolds pulled the trapped, semi-conscious driver out of the car through the driver’s side window after being unable to open any of the doors. Moments later, the Buick sedan was fully engulfed in flames, and investigators said the victim would have perished without Reynold’s intervention.

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