Hometown Hero!

April 9, 2015 at 8:15 am Leave a comment

OMAR - I-5 FWY 02If you’ve called our California customer service department, chances are you may have spoken to one of our customer service reps, Omar Rodriguez. Omar recently told us about an incident that happened a few months back and we felt it was worth sharing:

On his way home from work one day in January, Omar jumped into action to aide a motorist who was experiencing a seizure in the middle of rush-hour-traffic on the busy I-5 Fwy. Traveling southbound, Omar and his fiancé Olimpia, noticed a Nissan Altima begin to swerve across all lanes at a slow rate of speed. Traffic began maintaining a safe distance behind the vehicle as it went from left to right bouncing off the freeway center divider and the guardrail on the right shoulder.

Omar and Olimpia were able to see a female driver and a young female passenger, about 10 years old. Other drivers were trying to get the woman’s attention by yelling at her and honking but she would not react nor respond. Another driver was informed by the very frightened 10 year old passenger that her mom was having a seizure. Omar’s fiancé was able to overhear this as that driver relayed the information to a 911 operator.

Fortunately for the driver and passenger, Omar has a background in law enforcement:  He was a CHiP, yup, a California Highway Patrol officer. So first things first, he instructed his fiancé to call 911 and report the incident while he positioned his own vehicle directly behind the Altima in an attempt to protect it from other drivers. “I knew what I inevitably had to do” he said modestly, “I needed an opportunity to approach the vehicle and find a way to make it come to a complete stop.”

OMAR - I-5 FWY 01That opportunity came after the Altima collided with a moving vehicle and a big-rig semi-truck.  After the collisions, the Altima swerved towards the right shoulder, collided with a construction K-rail and subsequently a guardrail which slowed the vehicle down considerably as it scraped against it, still in motion. “The vehicle was moving considerably slow, almost jamming itself against the guardrail…that’s when I jumped out of my vehicle” Omar said matter-of-factly. “I parked behind it, told my fiancé to move our car to safety and ran towards the Altima.” As Omar approached the vehicle (yes, still on the busy freeway), he heard the engine accelerate loudly, but the car wasn’t moving much as it was jammed against the railing. “It was then that I leaned into the vehicle through the driver side window, over the woman while she was still experiencing the seizure and forced the gear shifter into the Park position.”

Omar gathered more information on the woman from her daughter (the passenger) and updated 911 dispatchers that the vehicle was now stopped and out of traffic, provided their exact location and requested Paramedics to respond. “I like to think that I was at the right place at the right time” he said, “It could have happened to anyone.” Omar remained with the woman and her daughter until emergency response units arrived. All the while, Olimpia captured video and photos with her cell phone.  The daughter and family members have since reached out to Omar to thank him for his quick thinking and action on their behalf.

As a side-note, Omar & Olimpia got engaged last August on their 1 year anniversary at the “Happiest Place On Earth” (aka Disneyland) in Anaheim California.  Congratulations! … and Thank You, Omar for helping strangers in need!



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