Plenty of video clips claim to contain stories about people being saved at the last possible moment. People are “seconds from disaster” or “moments from death” when they are snatched from harm’s way.
This story fully lives up to that description.
The scene was set in Lodi, California, along a section of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. It was Wednesday morning when a 66-year-old man attempted to cross the tracks in his wheelchair.
For reasons that may never be fully known, his wheelchair seemed to be stuck on the tracks and he was effectively immobilized. In parts of the video, you can see a cane, and that paired with the wheelchair suggested he was unable to remove himself from the chair to safety.
Thankfully, Officer Erika Urrea — a 14-year member of the Lodi Police Department — was making her rounds when she spotted the man at around 8:44 a.m. The railroad crossing gate was chiming, and in the distance, a train was steadily approaching.
“A northbound train was traveling pretty fast, and she rushed over to get him unstuck,” Sgt. Steve Maynard told Lodi News. “She only had a few seconds, and for some reason, she couldn’t get the chair loose, so she grabbed hold of him and hauled him from the chair.”
The video shows the officer’s quick thinking in action. Even though yanking and dragging an elderly person from a wheelchair might cause issues, in this case those actions were the only thing that saved his life.
The officer managed to hoist him out of his anchored wheelchair and they both fell backward as the train screamed by, impacting the wheelchair and hitting the man’s legs.
“The male suffered a leg injury that was tended to immediately by Officer Delgado (who had arrived to assist) and Officer Urrea,” the Lodi Police Department posted on Wednesday. “The 66-year-old male was ultimately transported to a local hospital for medical treatment.
“Officer Urrea risked her own life to save another and her actions prevented a tragedy today. We are extremely proud of Officer Erika Urrea and her heroism.”
According to Maynard, the man’s legs were seriously injured and he was taken to the hospital in critical but stable condition.
The Lodi Police Department shared the video on their Facebook page, and one person commented to say he was also a witness at the scene.
“I was approaching the tracks and witnessed Officer Urrea pull him from the chair just as the train arrived!!” the commenter wrote. “She is awesome and deserves a huge heroes Thank You from her community!!”
The same man also commented to say he “saw at least one of the legs severed.”
Despite the leg injuries, the elderly gentleman still has the most important thing: his life. And he has Officer Urrea to thank for that.
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