COR staff member pulls fellow officer from burning vehicle
When a CSP-Corcoran correctional officer came upon the scene of a violent two-car crash, he saw the victim was a fellow officer.
Correctional Officer Rogelio Tienda happened upon the scene of the accident and quickly realized there was little time to spare. The unconscious officer, slumped over in the driver’s seat, was trapped in a car that was quickly filling with smoke. The second vehicle appeared to be empty.
The door wouldn’t open, so Tienda ran back to his vehicle, grabbing a four-ton jack. Knowing the victim was in grave danger, he began to swing the jack at the window. On the fourth try, the window shattered. Reaching in, as flames began to engulf the car, Tienda pulled the officer from the crash.
Meanwhile, two other CDCR officers driving by saw what was happening and stopped to assist. With the victim in a safe spot, he turned his attention to the empty second car. In the distance, he spotted someone running away from the accident scene.
The two other officers kept the severely injured officer calm, ensuring he was far from the fully engulfed vehicle.
Chasing down hit-and-run suspect
Tienda got into his own vehicle to pursue the person fleeing the scene, who was already a mile away.
Without regard for his own safety, Tienda approached the suspect, who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. Tienda ensured that the suspected hit-and-run driver returned to the collision site.
The California Highway Patrol arrived on the scene and took the suspect into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence and causing major injuries as well as felony hit and run. Tienda helped CHP translate during the arrest.
The injured officer was subsequently taken to a hospital where he was admitted for treatment.
Tienda said he would do the same without hesitation for anyone but it was particularly meaningful that he helped a fellow officer.
“I was so happy to be there and save him. I would do anything for my partners, I love them,” Tienda said. “Life is meant to be cherished so I would have done this for anyone.”
“The actions of the involved Officers, and their quick reaction during a very stressful and dangerous situation, were nothing short of heroic. The bravery Officer Tienda showed in rescuing the injured Officer and assistance in apprehending a suspect of a felony,” according to a statement issued by CSP-Corcoran. “And not knowing the suspect’s intentions or what he was willing to do to get away, truly shows his selflessness and resolve as a Peace Officer. The officer’s disregard for his own safety to help another, saved the life of the injured officer and should not go unnoticed.”