By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor
Office of Public and Employee Communications
A typical drive home was anything but for Folsom State Prison Sgt. Jesse Camp. Shortly after midnight, while driving his personal vehicle, Camp came across the scene of a two-vehicle accident. One of the victims was an on-duty CDCR employee.
“The cars ahead of me were slowing down and driving around the involved vehicles,” Camp recalls. “There was a white car facing oncoming traffic that was wrecked and a large truck that was in the intersection.”
As Camp got closer he saw two men trying to pry open the door. He rolled down his window and shouted to them to see if they needed help. They waved him along, saying they had it covered. As he drove beside the vehicle, he spotted CDCR logos on the doors. He immediately pulled over, stopped his car and ran to assist.
Not knowing who was inside, Camp told the men he worked with the accident victim. The airbags had deployed, obscuring Camp’s view to see the inside of the smashed car. Pushing an airbag aside, he saw a correctional officer lying across the two front seats.
“Hey, are you OK?” he shouted to the officer. The officer didn’t respond.
Camp and the other two men pulled on the driver’s side door, trying to force it open. They finally were able to get the door to budge and opened with loud popping sounds.
Pulling away the airbag, Sgt. Camp saw the driver was a female correctional officer. She seemed to be awake but confused and trying to open the passenger door. As she pushed the door open, Camp ran around to the other side and helped her get out.
“She seemed dazed and confused. I told her I was a sergeant at Folsom State Prison. I asked if she was injured or hurt,” Camp said.
In her dazed state, she didn’t believe the sergeant and began backing away. To prove his identity, he ran to his car and retrieved his uniform from the trunk and put it on. He ran back to the officer and repeated who he was.
“The officer looked at my uniform and name tag and then said, ‘I think I’m OK,'” Camp recalls. “I said that was good and asked where the inmate was. She said there wasn’t an inmate.”
She said she worked at Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP) and was acting as a Code 3 chase car for an inmate being transported by helicopter to UC Davis Medical Center. Camp told her to call the watch commander at MCSP to notify them of the accident.
When she reached the watch officer at MCSP, the sergeant there asked if Camp could retrieve the weapons from the vehicle and hold them until another MCSP vehicle could meet them. When Camp got off the phone, he called his own watch commander at Folsom Prison. They were already aware of what was happening.
After 10 minutes, the fire department and ambulance arrived.
“I went to check on the driver of the truck that was also in the accident,” he said. “The engine was still running and a woman wearing medical scrubs had stopped to provide help if needed. As I got closer to the truck, I could smell gasoline and told the driver to turn off the engine.”
The driver kept pointing to his leg, indicating a possible injury.
“I went to the firefighters and told them the truck driver might be injured. The firefighter went to the truck to assist,” Camp said.
About five minutes later, four California Highway Patrol (CHP) vehicle arrived on the scene.
“Other firefighters were assessing the CDCR officer (when she) revealed she was pregnant,” Camp said. Wasting no time, the ambulance rushed her to the hospital.
About 45 minutes later, an MCSP outside parole sergeant arrived to retrieve the weapons and gear from Camp. At that time, it was about 1 a.m. and Camp called MCSP and Folsom’s watch commanders to inform them of the situation. Only then did he head home.
The officer was treated and released from the hospital. She and her baby were OK.