By Division of Adult Parole Operations staff
A parole agent and correctional counselor, both on their way home from work, came across an overturned vehicle in a shallow lake at the Consumnes River Preserve near the freeway.
On Feb. 28, Parole Agent Paul Ford was driving home when he spotted the car at Interstate 5 and Twin Cities Road in Galt.
Without hesitation, Agent Ford stopped his car and rushed to the scene to render aid. Another CDCR employee, Correctional Counselor II Jeff Saelee, also stopped to assist.
“I was driving north on I-5 on my way home from Deuel Vocational Institution, where I am employed as the Appeals Coordinator (CC II),” said Saelee. “I observed a car upside down in water at the Consumes River Preserve. I immediately pulled over and inspected the scene. I had noticed one person laying on the ground with abrasion to his facial area, who was being assisted by three other people. I immediately asked if there were any other occupants in the vehicle and they were unsure. The victim did not appear to be coherent and was unable to answer questions.”
The car was upside down in five feet of water and sinking. After checking the car for any other potential victims, they made their way to the victim.
“I then proceeded toward the victim along with Parole Agent Paul Ford who was still in contact with CHP on his cellular phone. I noticed the victim was very cold and shaking so I covered him with my jacket. Agent Ford and I along with three other people provided reassurance to the victim that medical aid was coming,” Saelee said.
Working together, they were able to stabilize the victim with help from bystanders until fire/EMS and CHP arrived.
Agent Ford’s state-issued trauma kit was used to stop facial bleeding of the victim until fire/EMS arrived on scene.
Agent Ford credits his Basic Parole Agent Academy training for allowing him to move through the situation without losing focus. Counselor Saelee said he was grateful the parole agent was on hand.
“Ford was calm, assessed the scene, and called for assistance. It was good to know I wasn’t alone as one of my brothers was there with me,” Saelee said.