Denver Health security officers risk their lives to rescue unconscious man trapped in creek www.privateofficer.com
DENVER CO April 17 2012 – The man knocked unconscious when his SUV plunged into Cherry Creek over the weekend said Monday he owes his life to a couple of security guards.
The guards were on duty at Denver Health when they ran across the street, jumped into the icy water and cut Gary Lozow, 68, out of his seat belt.
The guards said they were just doing what came naturally to them. They claim anyone would have done it, but that’s a humble statement considering the embankment they had to scale just to get to the vehicle.
“As I was walking out of the hospital, I could hear (people) yelling that there was a car in the ditch,” said security guard Brandon Skalak.
Skalak and his colleague, Omar Salgado, have witnessed a lot of life-saving moments as hospital security guards. On Sunday, they found themselves racing to save a life.
“I saw the car down in the ditch and I didn’t even break stride,” said Skalak.
“I saw the car, and my reaction was to think about my own family, friends and people that I know,” said Salgado. “And I’m like, ‘I’m just going to take a chance,’ and I jumped.”
Skalak and Salgado had to jump down a 14-foot vertical embankment just to get to the creek.
“I didn’t really think about it,” said Skalak. “I just kind of looked for a soft spot to land and dropped down. After not being able to pull him out the first time, Omar requested a knife.”
“We saw a male in the car. I asked for a knife,” said Salgado. “An officer gave me a knife, I cut the seat belt.”
“It was a big deal. We got the guy out alive,” said Skalak.
Lozow’s SUV ended up in the creek after it was side-swiped by a car police say ran a red light.
Skalak and Salgado said they didn’t even notice the cold water in the creek.
“Not until we got back up in the office and then our feet were a little chilly,” said Skalak, laughing.
“I remember when I was a kid I used to jump down the street, from the tree,” said Salgado. “I’m like, ‘Hey, let’s just do it.’ He was a big guy. But, you keep yourself in good shape, you can handle any situation.”
Lozow spoke to 7NEWS reporter Russell Haythorn from his hospital bed. He said he wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for Skalak and Salgado.
Lozow’s wife, Joyce, called the guards heroes.
“I don’t really see myself as a hero. I just did what I think anybody would do,” said Skalak. “I would like to meet (Mr. Lozow). Just to see that he’s OK.”
“It’s not about being a hero. It’s about being a human being,” said Salgado. “I’m really glad he’s alright.”
The driver of the car that hit Lozow was cited for running a red light. Denver Public Works has studied the intersection at 8th Avenue and Speer Boulevard before, even installing a red light camera to decrease accidents.
It is now looking at the possibility of installing a guard rail, but a spokeswoman said she isn’t sure if that’s the solution.