When Steven Pippin saw a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy struggling with a man trying to take his weapon, the West Palm Beach resident did what many wouldn’t — he helped.
“I was concerned about the deputy. I didn’t have time to be scared,” said Pippin, 21, who has completed training as an emergency medical technician and is considering becoming a fireman.
For his effort, Pippin was given the Samaritan Award by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office at Friday’s annual ceremony in front of about 900 people at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.
Stephen Hauss, 23, had fled from his vehicle after slamming into the rear of Pippin’s vehicle at Orange and Royal Palm Beach boulevards on May 27. As Pippin chased him, Hauss stripped to his blue boxer shorts and blue socks and ran across a drainage ditch. A passerby called 911.
The deputy joined the chase of Hauss, who is about 6-feet-5-inches tall and weighs about 260 pounds. As the deputy caught up, Hauss turned and charged the deputy, according to the police report.
Hauss was “exhibiting super-human strength, with one arm he was tossing me around. I believed I was in the fight for my life….” Hauss punched the deputy in the ribs and began pulling at his radio equipment and holster, according to a report.
Pippin approached to help. The deputy directed Pippin to grab Hauss’s left arm to stop Hauss from getting the deputy’s gun.
“Mr. Pippin’s unselfish act of bravery prevented the suspect from getting the deputy’s gun, saving the deputy’s life,” according to a PBSO press release.
It took two sets of handcuffs and at least six officers and staff members to hold down Hauss at Palms West Hospital in Loxahatchee while he was allegedly trying to break their fingers. Hauss was charged with battery of a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence.
“(Hauss) was mumbling, He was saying “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” He seemed delirious,” Pippin said.
Hauss, an Army veteran, was experiencing excited delirium, a rare brain disorder so dangerous that all emergency personnel are aware of it and are told to treat it as a medical emergency.
County records show Hauss is no longer in custody.
Pippin, a martial arts student, now works as a motorcycle technician. He is also considering a career in law enforcement.
Along with the award to Pippin, distinguished service medals were given to individual detectives, deputies, corrections officers, civilians, reserve deputy sheriffs and volunteers of the year at Friday’s ceremony.
“From civilians on patrol to the person who answers the phone to the person who brings the suspect to jail, everybody has an important job to do,” said Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw.
Staff Writer Alexandra Seltzer contributed to this story.