02/12/2008

Search for two who rescued deputy from burning cruiser

The Arizona Daily Star

TUCSON, Ariz. — The Pima County Sheriff’s Department is asking the public for help in identifying two of the rescuers who helped pull a deputy from his burning patrol car last week.

The department is seeking to formally thank everyone who played a role in the dramatic rescue of Deputy Hector J. Palomino, who was headed to a reported traffic accident Wednesday afternoon when his car collided with a pickup truck at West Ajo Way and South La Cholla Boulevard.

“Not only the department, but our deputies association and the Board of Supervisors want to recognize their efforts,” Lt. Karl Woolridge said.

Palomino’s patrol car was upended by a boulder as it left the road, and the vehicle caught fire while the deputy was trapped inside. The Sheriff’s Department has identified 10 of the 12 people who were on scene helping with the rescue.

“Everybody had a role, between people pulling the door open, people trying to put the fire out and people pulling the deputy out,” Woolridge said.

The rescuers are Paul Madewell, Felipe Sandoval, Doug McFarland, Ron Ballou, Adam Welch, Micah Boivin, Raul Rojas, Eyleen Sykora, Gilbert Fimbres, Benjamin Melendez and the two unidentified men.

Anybody who can help identify the final two men is asked to call Woolridge at 351-6204.

The Board of Supervisors will thank the rescuers at its March 4 meeting, and the Sheriff’s Department will recognize them during its annual awards dinner in December.

Palomino was released from a hospital that night and is at home recovering from fractured bones, Woolridge said. He released a statement the following day thanking his rescuers.

Copyright 2008 The Arizona Daily Star

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