HOLTVILLE,Calif. - Holtville Fire Chief Alex Silva was one of the few who attempted to save the driver of the pickup truck that fell into this canal after being hit by a semi-truck driver.
Silva, along with a sheriff's officer and a bystander, arrived on the scene and went in the canal to try to free the driver 41-year-old Arturo Gonzalez from Calipatria from his submerged truck.
Silva said, "Because of the impact that the car received, it pinned the driver to the middle console and the door. We went in, we tried to cut the seat belt off. We were able to get the shoulder off...shoulder strap off but the waist harness was still on."
With the driver trapped in the vehicle, Silva knew time was running out.
"During the time that we went in, we didn't have life vests or helmets. We just went in [with] uniforms to went in and help. And the current was extremely forceful. And trying to push us out. So it made even more difficult for us to stay in the vehicle, try to get the body out and try to get a balance to pull him out," said Silva.
Unfortunately, his efforts fell short. Nonetheless, his acts and those of others at the scene are nothing short of heroic.
Holtville Fire Chief Alex Silva said, "Again, our job is to rescue people. Save life. And in a situation like this, the circumstances were against us. And we were unsuccessful."
Sgt. Ernesto Ruedas, from the California Highway Patrol, said a further investigation showed the driver in the semi-truck ran a stop sign but did attempt to save the man trapped in the pickup truck by diving into the canal.
Ruedas said, "The tractor failed to stop for the stop sign, collided into the GMC pickup truck, and pushing the pickup truck into the canal."
Authorities said the driver of the semi-truck could be facing criminal charges.
Ruedas added, "Anytime you're involved in a vehicle collision that causes anybody to be killed in this case, we write the report and we file charges with the district attorney. Recommending this type of charge. In this case, what applies most as of right now, is involuntary manslaughter without malice."
Authorities are still waiting for a coroner's report for the official cause of death.