River Ridge High School student Dermonte Gobert and his mother, Mary Tilliman, were recognized by the Lacey Police Department on Thursday for helping a woman flee from an abusive ex-boyfriend in a shopping center parking lot last month.
“It’s a great example of a young man and his mom really helping people,” said Lacey police Sgt. Matt Koehler, who introduced the mother and son late Thursday.
Gobert is a member of the Lacey Police Explorers, a volunteer group for ages 15-21 who are thinking about becoming police officers, Lacey Police Chief Dusty Pierpoint said.
The Olympian reported the incident Dec. 22 after the woman’s ex-boyfriend, Richard F. Sanborn, made a preliminary appearance in Thurston County Superior Court.
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Sanborn was hiding in the back seat of his ex-girlfriend’s car when he emerged to confront her.
Charging documents give the following account:
Sanborn, after demanding to see her phone and making threats, ordered the woman to drive him to a convenience store in Tumwater, then ordered her to drive him home. During the drive, she said, he threatened to kill her and a male friend. She said he grabbed her neck and they fought over the steering wheel, swerving across several lanes.
The woman was able to get out of the car and run toward a store while screaming and waving her arms. Gobert and Tilliman came to her aid.
“Both stayed calm under pressure,” Koehler said about the two.
The woman got into their car and they drove to the front of the store, where Gobert got out and called 911.
“His information led to an arrest,” Koehler said.
Sanborn was taken into custody the same day near Marvin Road and Martin Way.