Caltrans worker Joe Thomas reunites with baby boy he saved along state Route 54

Young Cesar Ortiz has clean bill of health

SAN DIEGO - A Caltrans worker who saved a baby from dying along state Route 54 was reunited with the healthy boy and his family Friday.

One-year-old Cesar Ortiz's grandmother, Rebecca Hill, said her grandson was repeating "Joe" on his way to the reunion.

Joe Thomas, a road maintenance worker for the last 18 years, gave Cesar CPR, saving his life Monday.

Hill said Cesar was in the back seat as they were driving home on SR-54.

"All of [a] sudden, I see him shaking and his eyes rolling," said Hill. "[We] took him out of the car seat, and he stopped breathing."

Cesar was having a seizure caused by fever.

Out of nowhere, Thomas showed up and began performing CPR. He said he went through the training every three years at work.

"Honestly, the class is pretty long," said Thomas. "I saw the infant CPR and I was focusing on that."

Thomas has children, but no infants. He also normally doesn't take SR-54 to work.

"I just think God led me that way," said Thomas. "I have no other answers on that one."

Cesar's mother, Denise, said she believes her son would have died if not for Thomas.

Although Cesar now has a clean bill of health, Ortiz and Hill are now planning to take CPR classes.

"Joe, you did save him," said Hill. "You were an angel."

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