May 20--Trapped in her smashed, overturned SUV Thursday, Robin Guillen looked with disbelief at her broken left hand. Then, in shock and pain, she realized something else: Her diamond engagement ring was gone.
"My ring! Call my husband! My ring!" she called out as the emergency workers tore the roof off of her crumpled Dodge and rushed her to the hospital.
Robin and Will Guillen were engaged for seven years before he bought the ring, which he found after secretly researching diamonds so he would know what to buy.
Will Guillen, a UPS employee, searched high and low before discovering the perfect one at a wholesale store in San Francisco. The sparkle got to him. He brought it for almost $5,000 and placed it on his fiancee's shaking finger as he proposed in a New York hotel restaurant called "The View," which slowly revolves above the glow of Times Square.
They were married two weeks ago.
Now the ring was lost amid thousands of pieces of broken glass glinting across the intersection of Bernal Road and Highway 101, a few blocks from the couple's home.
San Jose Police officers Jesse Ashe and Aaron Little were the first on scene at 5:47 p.m.
The woman was hurt, but alive. The Nitro was a mess, having been T-boned by another car and rolled several times. But it wasn't smoking or on fire and there was no spilled fuel. So they calmed her as best they could, directed traffic away and waited for the fire department.
Guillen was already being taken to the hospital and the tow truck was righting the vehicle when the police dispatcher called the officers with an unusual request: Could they look for a missing diamond ring?
"To tell you the truth, I didn't believe there was a chance that we would find the ring," said Ashe. But he picked up a piece of metal that had broken off the vehicle and started to comb through the glass.
"If it was my wife's ring I would like someone to look for it," he said.
After several minutes, the officers gave up. Broken glass was scattered all over the car and the street. Everything looked like diamond.
Ashe turned to the tow truck guy and said, "This is impossible. It's like finding a needle in a haystack."
"I was kind of bored and decided to look one more time. All of a sudden I saw something, right between my feet in a pile of glass. It was white gold band with a solitaire diamond. The band was broken in half."
Ashe held it up over his head as though it were a sports trophy.
His partner, the other cops on the scene, the two truck driver, all yelled out. "No Way!" someone shouted.
"Everyone knew it would mean a lot to this lady," Ashe said.
The officers decided they would hand-deliver it.
Guillen was groggy, but conscious, when they arrived at the Regional Medical Center.
"Look what we found," Ashe told her.
"Oh my god," Guillen said.
Talking just minutes before being wheeled in for surgery Friday, Guillen said she was so thankful for officer's extra effort. It will be a while for the swelling to go down and for the ring to be repaired so that she can wear it again. But she can't wait to show it to the officers and thank them.
"We have been together for so long and we finally got engaged and got married. He had found this perfect ring. You can't replace it," she said. "That was just so awesome. I really appreciate it. To look in all that shattered glass."
Contact Sean Webby at 408-920-5003.