A Lodi California police officer is being hailed as a hero after she saved a wheelchair user, who became trapped on railroad tracks, from an oncoming Union Pacific train with mere seconds to spare.
The heart-wrenching incident took place shortly before 9am local time on Wednesday. As Officer Erika Urrea of the Lodi Police Department was on patrol, she noticed a 66-year-old man in a wheelchair in some distress as the crossing barriers were coming down.
Without a second thought, the quick-thinking cop sprinted to free the man, making it from the steering wheel of her car to the man’s wheelchair in under 15 seconds, just enough time to drag him out of the way and save his life, as heart-stopping bodycam footage of the incident shows.
At the last second, Officer Urrea managed to pull the man to safety though, unfortunately, he suffered severe leg injuries caused by the speeding train. He was taken to hospital for emergency treatment but one of his legs had already been amputated in the incident, and the other was fractured.
A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up to help cover the cost of replacing the man’s wheelchair and to cover his extensive medical bills.
“She prevented a tragedy and she saved a man’s life. She’s very humble in doing so,” Lodi Police Department spokesperson Melita Kautz said.
Social media users echoed the police department’s praise of Officer Urrea as a hero, with many saying the video “brought tears to my eyes!” and describing it as an “incredible fast-act of heroism.”
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There has been a spate of train-related deaths in the area in 2020 with at least five deaths recorded in Lodi and nearby Stockton so far this year.
California has the highest train accident casualties per annum of any state, which reportedly account for one fifth of the Golden State’s total deaths and injuries reported. Preliminary 2019 data indicates that 141 people were killed and 95 injured in train-related accidents in California.
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