Calif. Deputy Saves Man in Teetering Car

JACKSON, Calif. --

An off-duty Amador County sheriff’s deputy saved a man trapped in a teetering car.

The car slid down a slope and landed on its front end, lodged between a retaining wall and a wooden post. The Jackson Fire Department says the driver accidentally pressed the gas instead of the brake when trying to park.

“I heard a loud explosion I saw a lot of people running and I didn’t know what was going on,” Ryan Gillaspie said. He is a detective with the Amador County Sheriff’s Department.

With out hesitating, Gillaspie ran to help.

“His head was 6 to 8 inches from that retaining wall, so if the vehicle had slipped at all it would have crushed him,” said Gillaspie.

The car was teetering back and forth. Gillaspie knew what he had to do. Using his shoulders, he held the car in place while talking to driver.

“He said ‘Am I going to make it? Is the car going to go over?’", Gillaspie said. "And I said you’ll be fine, I am not going any where. I’m here with you, just stay calm.”

Gillaspie called for help and got two other men to hold the car while he grabbed a chain from his truck. He then tied the axle of the car to the building, securing the vehicle until the fire department arrived.

“It was a very significant event, pretty dramatic in a way,” said Dr. Darrel Kerr, who watched the rescue effort outside his office's front door.

Gillaspie didn’t stop there. He said he got a doctor to help the driver, taking his vital signs.

“It’s the right things to do,” said Gillaspie. “When you work in a small community like this, on or off duty, everybody knows you and that’s what the citizens expect me to do.”

The chief for the Jackson Volunteer Fire Department, Mark Morton, says Gillaspie and the others who helped did what people do best in the small foothill communities.

“When there is an emergency, everybody gets together,” said Morton.

Gillaspie is also a member of the search and rescue team.

“I am just thankful that I was in a situation to have (the driver) here today, still alive,” said Gillaspie.

As for the driver of the vehicle, the Fire Department said he was taken to the hospital as a precaution and is doing just fine.

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