SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Six San Diego good Samaritans are being honored after saving a California Highway Patrol officer's life on the side of a freeway.
On April 27, 2022, CHP Officer Tony Pacheco responded to a single-vehicle crash on the side of Interstate 8 in the Mission Valley area.
CHP officials said the driver of the car lunged toward Pacheco’s gun and it went off, hitting Pacheco in the leg. People passing by then stopped to help, both restricting the suspect and also giving medical aid to Pacheco.
Six of those good Samaritans were then honored for their heroic actions. Floriberto Pineda Zayago, Loay Yousif, Francisco Soto-Sesma, James Alan Carver, Hunter Nemeth and Travis Almond all are being thanked.
“Without hesitation, you approached the dangerous situation and physically restrained the suspect until addition civilians and emergency personnel arrived on scene,” said Border Division Chief Scott Parker to each of them, handing them a plaque.
The six of them each played a different role that day, and all of them are credited with collectively saving Pacheco’s life.
Loay Yousif said he helped Pacheco call in the shooting and request backup.
“I have some experience with codes, police code, 1199 means officer down and that’s when I started using 1199,” said Yousif.
Yousif said after calling in the shooting, he then helped Pacheco call his wife to tell him he’d been shot.
Simultaneously, a registered nurse named Hunter Nemeth stopped to help render medical aid.
“I keep trauma sheers in my backpack, we cut my backpack straps up to make a tourniquet,” said Nemeth, adding that they later used the officer’s belt as another form of a tourniquet.
Nemeth said that based on how much blood Pacheco was losing, he’s not sure he would have survived had they not stepped in.
From giving medical aid to using the officer’s handcuffs to restrain the suspect, each of the six men helped that day.
“I think everyone played a role. Even if you don’t know how to do anything… there was a gentleman up there just holding the officers hand and reassuring the officer. That’s just as important as placing the tourniquet,” said Nemeth.
Office Pacheco is not yet back at work, but is still recovering at home.