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Chula Vista police honor heroism and remarkable community service

Several Chula Vista police officers and others earned recognition Saturday night from the Chula Vista Police Foundation for their quick and heroic actions when faced with emergencies last year.

The honors were part of the Chula Vista Police Foundation’s annual “Evening with Heroes” fundraiser, according to a news release from the police department.

Among the honorees was an officer who climbed into a burning car to give medical aid to an unconscious driver still stuck inside, and a Starbucks barista who performed CPR on a customer who had stopped breathing.

The car rescue happened July 6, 2021, when a driver suffered a medical emergency and fell unconscious, crashing his car into several vehicles and narrowly missing a Chula Vista patrol car.

Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (or PERT) Clinician Linda Dalton and Officer Manny Padilla jumped out of that patrol car and ran to the now wrecked and burning car. Dalton blasted a fire extinguisher as Padilla broke a window to reach the trapped driver.

Lt. Rusty Ray arrived and crawled into the burning car to render medical aid to the driver until fire crews could cut him from the car. The motorist survived.

Two months later, on Sept. 14, 2021, a customer slumped over at a Starbucks on Southwestern College‘s campus. Barista Kass Hernandez rushed over, moved the man to the ground and started CPR.

Chula Vista Officer Ronnie Haus was on patrol nearby when he heard the 911 call via the department’s Live911, which allows officers to listen live to emergency calls and head to a scene without first being dispatched.

Haus was on scene in less than a minute. He took over CPR efforts, soon joined by Southwestern College Officer David Felix. The customer survived.

According to the news release, money from the foundation helps pay for specialized equipment and technology not funded in the city’s budget.

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