Two quick-thinking Dallas sheriff's deputies are alive after one of them was almost taken out by a suspected drunk driver while they were dealing with another suspected drunk driver.
One of the deputies only had time to react and run for his life. He’s alive because the deputy who was backing him up followed his training to a tee.
Dallas Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Roy Wallace and Deputy Mayo Loza had just put a suspected drunk driver in jail when another call came in.
“A traffic hazard came out northbound 35 at Northwest Highway,” said Wallace. “A vehicle, foot on the brake, left lane.”
Just before 5 a.m. on the morning of June 8, Wallace spotted the pickup truck in the fast lane on I-35 at a dead stop.
“I go up there, see the guy asleep at the wheel, just passed out, seat back,” said Wallace. “He looked like a big guy, for me. I know I’m probably not going to be able to handle him by myself.”
Wallace decided to wait for Loza, who was pushing to get to the trouble spot. The two deputies then talk about what they should do and make their move.
“We're talking about what we're gonna do to get the car in park before the person wakes up, that way he won’t react to us waking him up and take off,” said Loza.
Dash cam shows Loza approach the driver’s side as Wallace goes to the passenger side.
Wallace turns to look at approaching traffic and screams, “Oh [expletive]! Watch out, Loza!” Loza then has to run for his life from another suspected drunk driver, going 100 miles per hour.
That driver is seen riding the concrete barrier on the left shoulder past the deputies.
“As soon as he screamed, I looked back and saw sparks from the vehicle,” said Loza. “And I don’t know what happened, but at the last second, to avoid my vehicle that was behind Sgt. Wallace’s vehicle, he went over to the left shoulder, hit the wall. And when I looked back, I just saw sparks in the air. That’s when I just ran to the front of the vehicle.”
“I’m more ecstatic than he is,” said Wallace. “He's like, ‘Alright, I missed that one.’ And I’m like, ‘Alright, now we've got to get two intoxicated drivers in custody by ourselves.’”
Loza calmly gets back to business, performing field sobriety tests on the driver of the pickup truck.
Jose Montoya Avitia was in the pickup. Deputies say he admitted to ten beers and two bumps of cocaine.
Omar Varela was in the Chevy Cobalt that almost took out Loza, Deputies say his blood alcohol content was .183.
“If that sergeant and that deputy had not reacted the way they did, I’m afraid to say we'd be planning a funeral right now,” said Cpt. Mark Howard with the Dallas Sheriff’s Department.
“I can’t even understand how the guy didn’t hit us, Loza or the truck,” said Wallace. “I couldn’t figure it out.”
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