Inland Empire: 32 Honored for Saving Lives

Deputies honored for their life-saving actions pictured with Sheriff McMahon.

Photo courtesy: SBCSD
Deputies honored for their life-saving actions pictured with Sheriff McMahon.

Staff Reports

San Bernardino County –The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department on Friday, Dec. 18, recognized 32 personnel and citizens whose actions contributed to saving many lives.

Sheriff John McMahon presented the individuals with the awards and praised their heroic deeds at the event.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the professional character displayed by all 32 individuals awarded,” McMahon said. “Without hesitation, citizens and employees from various agencies stepped in and gave so many people their life back.”

Among the stories of the heroic acts, here are a few shining examples:
Deputy Will Fifita was honored for saving his father’s life while off-duty. On Thursday, Oct. 1, Fifita was off-duty at LAX Airport waiting to pick up family members. Suddenly, Will’s father, Eddie Fifita, fell to the ground and stopped breathing, possibly in cardiac arrest. Will quickly began assessing his father’s needs and was assisted by Customs Agents Phillip Gaff and Kevin Mahoney. The three officers began CPR and after several minutes, Will located a pulse and his father began breathing. Eddie Fifita was transported to a nearby hospital.
Highland resident Micheal Ruth helped save an injured driver on June 19.  At about 11 p.m., a traffic collision occurred on Boulder near Pacific. Ruth witnessed a car crash into a tree and become fully engulfed in flames. Ruth ran to the vehicle, saw the injured driver in the backseat, reached into the burning vehicle and pulled the driver to safety. After rescuing the driver, Ruth stayed with the driver until he was transported to a local hospital.
Deputy Daniel Smith was honored for saving his partner Deputy David Franquez’s life earlier this year.

In January of 2015, Deputies Daniel Smith and David Franquez were assigned as partners for the day on routine patrol in Rancho Cucamonga. They stopped for a quick bite to eat before their first assignment. Smith was researching the subjects they were going to contact when he looked at Franquez and realized he was choking. Franquez’s face turned red and he was no longer breathing. Smith got Franquez out of the patrol car and immediately began the Heimlich maneuver. The one hard compression dislodged the food from his airway and he began breathing on his own.