LODI (CBS13) — Bells were clanging, a train horn blowing, and the adrenaline was pumping as veteran Lodi police officer Erika Urrea saved a man in a wheelchair stuck on the tracks from certain death Wednesday morning.
“To me, I didn’t think the train was still a ways away. But, as I got up to him, I grabbed on to him, I can see the train just approaching and it was going pretty fast,” Urrea said. “I just was like, I got to get him off of the tracks.”
She couldn’t get the chair free, so she pulled the man out of his chair as the train barreled toward near Lodi Avenue and Sacramento Street.
“And I was thinking back like man, it really felt like the train was right in my face,” Urrea said. “Looking back at the video, it practically was right in my face.”
As the train flew by, Urrea feared the worst.
“When I fell to the ground and I heard the noise like the train had crashed into something, my initial thought was I didn’t get to him on time,” she said.
The man, who suffered a leg injury and is now in the hospital, was saved. This heroic officer told CBS13 it was surreal watching her own body camera footage; never experiencing anything this extreme while wearing the badge.
“That’s when you start thinking, ‘Okay this could’ve happened and that could’ve happened,’ Just like I said, all of the different scenarios that go through your head just start pouring in,” Urrea said.
Now praise is pouring in for her life-saving move.
“She’s a true hero. Probably 99% of all cops would do the same thing. But, in that instance, for her to think and react that quickly was awesome!” Michael Bender, a witness of the incident, said.
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“Maybe God put ‘em in his way to save his life,” Anna Martinez, who works at a business near the railroad tracks, said.
But the 14-year veteran doesn’t feel heroic.
“It’s one of those situations where if one of my family members were stuck or needed help, I would hope that someone would stop and help them and that was just the situation,” Urrea said.
Officer Urrea says she hasn’t been able to speak to the man she saved. She hopes that he is okay and recovers from his injury.