Off-duty deputy, friend save 3 lives after ATV flips into water in Calif.
SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY, Calif. (KOVR/CNN) - Three people from California, including a 10-year-old girl, survived a crash in their all-terrain vehicle, thanks to the actions of an off-duty sheriff’s deputy and his friend.
A casual Sunday drive in Stockton, California, took a nasty turn July 26 for Susana Salcedo, her boyfriend and her 10-year-old sister when the ATV they were in flipped off the road and landed upside down in water.
“We were scared. At that moment, I remember I blacked out,” Salcedo said. “I wasn’t thinking I was going to die, but then, once I got into the water, I was drowning... I couldn’t breathe no more.”
Salcedo says she and her sister were stuck in the ATV harnesses, face down in the water, and her boyfriend suffered major injuries to his arm and leg.
Help came their way in the form of a boat passing by with off-duty Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin McCarthy and his friend, Jason Buffalow, aboard.
“When I initially saw it, it was like slow motion, like this is not happening right now,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy and Buffalow jumped in the water, with the former making tourniquets out of life jackets for the boyfriend’s injuries and the latter freeing Salcedo and her sister from their harnesses and the water.
“I just went back to what I was taught. It’s check for pulse, find out, stop the bleeding, save a life. I was in the right place at the right time, and I’m glad I was there.”
Officials with the California Highway Patrol say the tourniquets saved Salcedo’s boyfriend’s life. The woman says he is recovering day by day, and she considers McCarthy and Buffalow heroes.
"Thanks to them we're all alive, the three of us," Salcedo said.
McCarthy and Buffalow say they don’t feel like heroes, but they are thankful they were in the right place at the right time.
“I’m just glad he’s OK. I’m glad she’s OK. I’m glad her little sister is OK. There’s nothing more than knowing that someone is here because of maybe your actions,” McCarthy said.
It’s unclear what led to the ATV crash.
Copyright 2020 KOVR, CHP Stockton, Susana Salcedo, Jason Buffalow via CNN. All rights reserved.