Senator honors LCHS junior, local officer and detective

Published 5:27 pm Wednesday, May 5, 2021

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Pictured are Officer Andy Ferguson, Mayor Miller, Maria Vergara, Senator Paul, Detective Ryan Kirkpatrick. – Photo submitted

Maria Vergara poses with her Congressional Record certificate. – Photo submitted

Lincoln County High School junior Maria Vergara, along with Officer Andy Ferguson and Detective Ryan Kirkpatrick of the Stanford Police Department, was honored today by United States Senator Rand Paul at the Lincoln County Courthouse today.

Senator Paul presented a Congressional Record to Vergara, established April 12th in Washington, D.C., for her role in quickly calling 911 after witnessing a heinous crime in Stanford. SPD was dispatched to the scene and was able to arrest the perpetrator who was later charged with sexual assault and kidnapping.

The out-of-state victim received medical treatment and was reunited with her family due to the heroic efforts of Maria and the Stanford Police Department.

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The following is the text entered into Congressional Record by Sen. Paul.

I ask consent that this be entered in the Congressional Record:  At 10 PM on March 30, 2021, Stanford, Kentucky, Police Officer Andy Ferguson and Detective Ryan Kirkpatrick were dispatched to the parking lot of a local eatery after receiving a 911 call from Maria Vergara, a teenager who witnessed a heinous crime: a young woman being assaulted and dragged, screaming, into the cab of a semi-truck. 

Once on the scene, these law enforcement professionals gained access to the vehicle, rescued the victim, and eventually arrested the 29-year old perpetrator who was later charged with sexual assault and kidnapping. 

Working with SPD Chaplain, Jeremy Johnson and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the out-of-state victim received medical treatment at the hospital and was reunited with her family. 

But the story does not stop there. A locket containing the ashes of the victim’s mother had been ripped from her neck and discarded during the assault and officers were unable to locate it during the night. The next day, Chaplain Johnson, and Stanford Mayor Dalton Miller, returned to the scene and eventually found the necklace, which has since been returned to the victim. 

These actions remind us all of several things: of one person’s ability to change the course of history for another (in this case, the teenager who reported the crime); of the mix of professionalism and heroism that sends police officers into unknown but certain danger; and of the never-give-up attitude of our best public servants who are moved by compassion to go the extra mile for those who are hurting. We honor each of these individuals today and thank them for their example.