Police officers have one of the toughest jobs out there, positions that demand utmost dedication — and sometimes require you to risk your life.
That’s exactly what Officer Luis Garcia of Louisiana’s Gulfport Police Department had to do on Jan. 22.
His ordeal started when Garcia received a call about a stolen Chevrolet Express, a boxy passenger van that seats over a dozen people. Witnesses said that they’d seen the vehicle speeding down the highway.
Garcia decided to go check it out, but the van’s occupant, an 18-year-old named Eli Daniel Bosworth, didn’t want his joyride to end. He sped down the road at speeds exceeding 70 miles per hour.
This was the point when Courtney Brown entered the story, a Gulfport resident who was on her way to pick up her boyfriend’s truck. Her boyfriend, mother, and infant daughter were all in her car.
“We saw a police car go through the red light, and then once the light turned green, a second police car stopped in the middle of the road and prevented us from going through,” Brown told the Sun Herald.
That second car contained Garcia, who was intent on making sure that Bosworth didn’t hurt any innocent bystanders.
The officer’s conscientiousness came at a high cost. As Bosworth blew threw the intersection, Garcia held his ground, and the van broadsided his cruiser.
“The van was going at least 75, or 80 miles per hour as Garcia just sat there waiting for the van to run through the red light,” Brown further detailed on Facebook.
“We were going to drive through the green light after Garcia drove through the light, but if it wasn’t for Officer Garcia jumping in the way and blocking the intersection, my daughter and boyfriend would have been the ones to get hit and possibly die.”
Officers arrested Bosworth after the crash, but Garcia was in bad shape. First responders quickly got him to the hospital where he was listed in “serious but stable” condition.
Warning: there is explicit language in the video below.
“Some of you may have been on the scene and saw the results of the damage to his vehicle. It is amazing that his injuries don’t reflect that level,” Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania said during a press conference.
“He has substantial injury, but there is nothing that we have heard that leads me to believe that he’s not going to make a full recovery.
“It’s a heck of an impact, and I truly don’t understand how he’s in as good of shape as he’s in.”
Donations have already started pouring in to aid Garcia during his convalescence. Additionally, a Facebook page entitled Prayers for Officer Luis Garcia has cropped up for his support.
“Garcia saved my boyfriend and daughter’s lives,” a thankful Brown said. “There was no reason for him to have stopped other than to save us.”
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