Above the Call

CDCR employees rescue mom, child from sinking car

Two CDCR employees stand in front of a State of California seal.
Acting Associate Warden Matt Jones and Lt. Andrea Jones helped save a mom and her daughter from a sinking car.

Grateful mother thanks couple for helping

It wasn’t a typical Valentine’s Day for Matt and Andrea Jones when the CDCR employees came across a car sinking into a canal. Their story is another example of CDCR employees going above the call to help those in need.

Acting Associate Warden Matt Jones and Lt. Andrea Jones were driving Feb. 14 when they saw a group of people on a canal bank. Then they saw a vehicle partially submerged in a canal and heard cries for help.

Matt immediately pulled to the side of the road.

“From our point of view, the front of the car appeared to be full of water,” he said. While her husband ran to the vehicle, Andrea called 911.

CDCR employees assess the situation, formulate a rescue plan

The pair, who usually work at Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, put their training to the test.

When he approached the vehicle, Matt asked the driver how he could help. She indicated her young daughter was still strapped in her car seat in the back. As they spoke, the car began sinking deeper into the canal.

Matt opened the car’s rear door, pulling the child from her seat. He handed the child to one of the men standing on the canal bank, then turned his attention to the driver.

Fearing the car would be pulled in deeper, he told her to climb up the middle console. Meanwhile, he and others created a daisy chain by interlocking arms.

Luckily, crash victims Brooke Gamez and her daughter Nora only suffered minor injuries.

Gamez said without the CDCR employees showing up to rescue them, the situation might have had a different ending,

“Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for being at the right place and time,” she said. “I’m forever grateful to him and his wife.”

By Lt. Brent Urban

Read more stories of staff going above the call.

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