Passers-by in a city in California helped police lift a car off a cyclist who was trapped beneath the vehicle, which turned out to be stolen, with officers later apprehending the driver, who had fled the scene.
The incident happened on 15 December in Watsonville, Santa Cruz County, which lies in the Monterrey Bay area on the central Californian coast, with the local police department posting footage of the rescue to Twitter last week, as well as interviews with one of the officers, as well as one of the passers-by who rushed to help out,
𝗪𝗔𝗥𝗡𝗜𝗡𝗚: Some viewers may find the following video disturbing.
Tonight, we hear from one of the good Samaritans and officers who helped rescue a cyclist trapped under a stolen car. pic.twitter.com/CNPkdm4bIS
— Watsonville Police (@WatsonvillePD) December 22, 2022
Officers from the Watsonville Police Department had been called to stop the driver of the stolen car, who jumped out of the vehicle as it was still moving. It crashed into a 65-year-old male cyclist, who became trapped beneath it.
Attempts to raise the vehicle with a jack were unsuccessful but officers, assisted by around half a dozen civilians, were able to lift it and free the cyclist,
Corporal Isaak Rodriguez said: “I was thinking that we have seconds because this individual is going to die if we don't lift the car off his chest, seconds matter. He was gasping for air, he couldn’t breathe."
He added: “Knowing that there are still people out there that are willing to help out a stranger in a time of need, it’s one of the greatest feelings I ever felt.”
One of the men who helped police lift the car, Marvin Luna, said: “I was in between two officers and I just grabbed hold of what I could and I noticed everybody else was trying to lift the vehicle.
“Everything just happened so fast, the only thing I really wanted to do was help.
“I came back to work and I told my co-workers ‘you’re not gonna believe it’. This was one of the craziest lunches I’ve ever had,” he added.
The cyclist, who was conscious after his ordeal, was later said to be in a stable condition.
The episode has similarities to one closer to home in London that we reported on back in 2013.
On that occasion, drivers from a cab firm in Spitalfields in the city’s East End lifted a vehicle up and placed it on its side, enabling paramedics to treat the cyclist who was trapped beneath it immediately, rather than having to wait for firefighters to arrive at the scene with lifting gear.
The cyclist, Claire Pepper, sustained concussion, a broken collarbone and bruising as a result of the crash, with the London Ambulance Service praising the quick thinking of the Good Samaritans who had come to her aid.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.