Above the Call, Division of Adult Parole Operations

Parole Apprehension Team agents pull driver from wreck

Smoldering hillside with a smashed car on its side.
Two CPAT agents assisted a driver trapped in a car, dangerously close to an approaching grass fire.

A standard day for two parole agents took a drastic turn as they helped pull a driver from a car as fire rapidly approached.

Two men in dark shirts with badges printed on them.
CPAT Agents Raymond Ernandez, left, and George Meza.

On Aug. 2, 2018, at 10:35 a.m., Southern Region California Parole Apprehension Team (CPAT) Agents Raymond Ernandez and George Meza were traveling on the freeway near Fallbrook when they saw smoke coming from a fire near the freeway.

As they approached the area, they saw several people standing on the freeway pointing down a hill toward the fire.

The agents saw a white Kia that had been involved in a rollover accident that had come to rest at the bottom of a hill next to the freeway.

The vehicle’s engine had been thrown 50 yards from the wreck, causing a grass fire that was rapidly spreading toward the wreck.

Parole agents Ernandez and Meza immediately exited their state vehicle and were told the driver was trapped in the vehicle.

Running down the hill, the agents assessed the situation. They realized there was only one option to quickly get the person out of the car. They kicked out the windshield, then pulled the trapped woman from the wreck before flames reached the car.

Bleeding and complaining of chest pains, she was carried to the top of the hill to an ambulance. Then, paramedics took over patient care.

Without their quick actions, the outcome could have been much different.

By James Gruender, Parole Agent III, Southern Region CPAT

Read more stories of staff going above the call.

Follow us on YouTubeFacebook and Twitter.