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TPA police officer gets surprise reunion with motorcyclist he saved

TPA Police awarded Officer Ryan Runge received a Life Saving Award for helping rescue Jarid Demarais.

TAMPA, Florida — A police officer at Tampa International Airport got a big surprise on Friday.

Officer Ryan Runge reunited with the man he saved from a motorcycle crash in March. The TPA Police Department awarded Runge the Life Saving Award in a ceremony for his actions.

"It's a pleasant surprise to be able to see him. I'm glad he's still here with us," Runge said.

Jarid Demarais waited months to thank Runge for saving his life.

"This is so wonderful," Demarais said through tears. "It's nice to see such good people on the world."

Demarais said he rode his motorcycle one day in March and had the right of way when another vehicle turned. That crash led to a more than two-month recovery at the hospital.

"I remember getting on the motorcycle and leaving my place, and nothing for two weeks after," Demarais said.

Runge was on patrol when he noticed smoke rising from the intersection of Air Cargo Road and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, according to TPA police.

Credit: Jarid Demarais

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When he and other first responders got there, Runge said Demarais wasn't breathing.

"We were able to just turn him slightly to correct his airway," Runge said. "That's when he took a big, deep breath in and I was like, 'Oh man, we got him.'"

Thirty occupational therapy sessions later, Demarais said his mind is still healing. The memory losses have been some of the toughest parts of recovering. However, he said he's grateful to be alive and expressed his gratitude for Officer Runge. 

"I'm very lucky to be here. Very happy to be here," Demarais said. 

Credit: 10 Tampa Bay

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