VENTURA, Calif. – On September 29, 2016, Deputy Probation Officer Travis Prater, Deputy Probation Officer Nick Schroeder, Senior Deputy Probation Officer Salvador Herrera, and Supervising Deputy Probation Officer Dolores Barnett were driving on the 101 freeway when they observed cars swerving, braking, and a large amount of smoke. Believing that an accident had occurred, the officers pulled their vehicle to the side of the road to render assistance.
They observed a disabled semi-truck with severe damage to the trailer, a damaged Mercedes that was facing the opposite direction of traffic, and at the bottom of the freeway off-ramp, a pickup truck that appeared to be totaled. It was later determined that the truck had rolled several times down the embankment.
After grabbing the first-aid/trauma kit, Schroeder, Prater, and Herrera immediately ran to the pickup and assessed the situation. Herrera called 911 to request fire and medical response and noted that the driver of the pickup was trapped in his vehicle. Barnett contacted the occupants of the Mercedes and semi-truck to check on their injuries. Although visibly shaken, the occupants of neither vehicle were injured. Barnett stayed with the victims near the Probation vehicle and directed traffic away from the accident.
After determining the pickup was safe to approach, Schroeder was able to stabilize the driver’s neck and medically assessed him for further injuries. In addition, Schroeder continued to talk to the driver to keep him awake and comforted. Schroeder applied gauze to the driver’s face due to severe bleeding. Shortly thereafter, fire and emergency medical services arrived and Schroeder assisted them by applying a neck brace on the driver before cutting off his seat belt. Prater and Herrera assisted by maintaining control of the immediate area, while helping comfort witnesses and arriving emotional family members. Schroeder continued to assist emergency personnel with extricating the driver from the pickup. The driver was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.
A witness near the pickup thanked the officers and said, “I see Probation in a whole new light.”
Pictured (L to R), Deputy Probation Officer Schroeder, Senior Deputy Probation Officer Herrera, Supervising Deputy Probation Officer Barnett, Deputy Probation Officer Prater.