SDG&E worker recounts rescuing police officer from crash

SAN DIEGO -- One of the rescuers who helped a San Diego police officer after a crash is sharing his experience.

Jacob Palecheck, a San Diego Gas & Electric employee, was on his way to his next service call Monday when the crash happened. He didn't think an ordinary day at work would end up being the day he helped save someone's life.

"The officer was completely unconscious and unresponsive so we all kind of thought the worse," Palecheck said.

He described the terrifying moment when he helped rescue the officer, who had lost control of his car after suffering a medical emergency.

"The officer passed me and at some point, he lost control of his vehicle and smashed into the guardrail in the center divider and then bounced back across all lanes, ended up in the embankment in the side of the freeway," Palecheck said.

The police officer, who was transporting a prisoner, crashed into the center divide along Interstate 15 before coming to a complete stop on a hillside. That's when Palecheck, along with four other people who witnessed the crash, decided to spring into action.

"Ran down to the car -- there were several other guys who were down there with us -- and we opened the door. The officer was unconscious at that point in time and we couldn't get any response from him," Palecheck said.

Then, they discovered the prisoner in the backseat.

"He wasn't making a sound as far as we could hear. We didn't even know he was in there until other police arrived and said that there was somebody was in the backseat of the car. We had looked under the airbags but it was a mess in the car. He was just quiet in the backseat. He was more scared than anything I think," Palecheck said.

Palecheck says he is just glad he was at the right place at the right time and would do it all over again if he had to -- and hopes that others would do the same.

"Be more vigilant and watch out and make sure people know that anybody deserves just common decency. There are still very good people out there who would pull over and help somebody," Palecheck said.

Palecheck plans to meet the officer when he is released from the hospital this week.