Above the Call: Lieutenant saves man pinned by semi-truck

Lt. John Mendiboure holds a crash victim’s head steady until help arrives. His wife, Carey Mendiboure, applied first aid to the victim while they waited for the ambulance.

By Lt. Mike Tuntakit, AA/Public Information Officer
Avenal State Prison

Dec. 10 was a normal day for Avenal State Prison Correctional Lt. John Mendiboure. He and his wife were returning home from the Bay area when they came across a vehicle wedged underneath the back of a semi-truck, smoking curling up from under the hood. There were no emergency crews on scene and the accident, on the right side of the freeway, appeared to have just happened. The Mendiboures went into action to try to save a young man trapped inside.

The car was severely damaged and smoking from the engine compartment.  Lt. Mendiboure quickly responded to the vehicle and found a victim unconscious in the driver’s seat with a severe gash on his head.

Carey Mendiboure, John’s wife, retrieved their travel trauma kit and returned to the wrecked vehicle, where she started trying to help the victim.

Traffic was still driving by and on-lookers did not know what to do, according to Lt. Mendiboure.

He tried prying open the doors but but they were pinned shut. Without regard for his safety and seeing the victim in need of urgent medical care, Mendiboure took off his shirt to protect his hands and pulled out what was left of the front windshield. He reached through and stabilized the victim’s head.

The victim was going in and out of consciousness, apparently in shock. Lt. Mendiboure and his wife tended to the head wounds to slow down the bleeding while reassuring the victim he was going to be OK and emergency services were on the way. With disregard to his personal safety as he leaned over the smoking engine, Mendiboure continued to hold the victim’s head steady until paramedics arrived and used the “Jaws of Life” to extract the victim.

Lt. Mendiboure credits his CDCR training, knowing he needed to stay calm if the young man was going to survive the accident.

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23 Responses

  1. Jose Padilla Wednesday, May 17, 2017 / 9:27 am

    Thumbs up and my praises to you all. You represent the department well. GOD BLESS

  2. Melissa Friday, January 20, 2017 / 1:59 pm

    So awesome 

  3. JB Wednesday, January 4, 2017 / 4:52 pm

    These stories always bring tears to my eyes. Thanks to you and your wife for doing the brave and kind thing. That young man was very lucky that the two of you came upon the scene.

    And kudos to the department for taking the time to highlight the great things being done by its employees.

  4. J.D. Monday, January 2, 2017 / 3:46 pm

    Great job LT. and wife! We need more of you in the department!

  5. Catherine R. Seymour-Grossjan Saturday, December 31, 2016 / 10:32 pm

    Thankful there are people like you out there God Bless you!

  6. B. Davi Friday, December 30, 2016 / 10:10 pm

    Great job John.

  7. Andrew Nolder Thursday, December 29, 2016 / 4:12 pm

    We need more people like this in this world.

  8. R. Lozano Wednesday, December 28, 2016 / 4:43 pm

    Awesome job, may God bless you guys abundantly…

  9. Barbara Wednesday, December 28, 2016 / 10:13 am

    Thank you for your service, CDCR is full of so many wonderful people like you. Bless you and your wife.

  10. Daniel Duya Tuesday, December 27, 2016 / 4:42 pm

    LT and Mrs Mendiboure…Bravo Zulu!

  11. S. Tyler Tuesday, December 27, 2016 / 2:57 pm

    That’s amazing. Great job!

  12. Danielle McGuire Tuesday, December 27, 2016 / 1:28 pm

    Wow! Simply amazing God-sends. Bless you for your heroism.

  13. John Tuesday, December 27, 2016 / 1:07 pm

    CDCR Academy, aid rendered and lives saved, in and out of the prison yard…

  14. Stephanie Tuesday, December 27, 2016 / 12:31 pm

    love reading these kind of stories. You and your wife are awesome. God bless.

  15. T.M. Tuesday, December 27, 2016 / 11:26 am

    Extraordinary! You are heroes.

  16. Steve Smith Tuesday, December 27, 2016 / 11:12 am

    Great job, John!

  17. PR Tuesday, December 27, 2016 / 11:06 am

    What a Christmas gift for the victim and his family. You and your wife are awesome.

  18. Chikodi B. Okoro Tuesday, December 27, 2016 / 10:24 am

    You and your wife are God-sent! Thanks a million for your fast response to save this young man’s life.

    May God Almighty give you a fast response to your prayers also. Expect it for it will surely come to pass, it will not tarry; wait for it for in time of need God will send His Angels to shower you with blessings untold. God bless.

  19. Jane Rogan CDCR - C.I.W. Tuesday, December 27, 2016 / 9:39 am

    Thank you for saving a life.

  20. Patty Morasci Tuesday, December 27, 2016 / 9:20 am

    Awesome job! You are that young man’s hero and I’m sure he and his loved ones thank you for knowing what to do and caring enough to do it. Blessings to you…

  21. Janet Nay Tuesday, December 27, 2016 / 9:05 am

    What an amazing act of heroism! Lt. Mendiboure and his wife should be commended for their acts. So many people would have just driven by and done nothing. I cannot express that that makes me feel right now after reading this article.

  22. PoppaRod Tuesday, December 27, 2016 / 9:03 am

    Wow. That accident scene pic is grisly, so the site must have been far worse! Lt. John, you are a brave man, and a credit to the dept….. Be blessed and healthy all your days!

  23. Yolanda Dorado Tuesday, December 27, 2016 / 8:52 am

    Way to go John. You are truly amazing!

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