WILLIAMS, CA (KCRA/CNN) – Authorities said a tow truck driver pulled a heroic act by helping an officer who was stabbed last week by a DUI suspect.
Christian Melendrez, the 21-year-old driver, said it was instinct that had him respond to an officer in trouble.
He was in the right place at the right time when he saw California Highway Patrol Officer Philip Martinson under attack on the interstate near Williams, CA, on Friday night.
"I saw the cop car pulled over with the lights on," Melendrez said.
The CHP said Martinson was stabbed in the back with a knife by a driver he had just pulled over for speeding over 100 miles per hour on the interstate.
That’s when Melendrez jumped into action and followed the wounded officer’s instructions.
"The next thing was, 'Can you grab the handcuffs? Help me.' So, I did,” Melendrez said. “I took the handcuffs off his belt from the back, turned her over, got one arm, put one on, got the other one."
The woman arrested is 25-year-old Haile Neil of Martinez, CA. She is now in Colusa County Jail.
Neil said she was on her way to Oregon to visit her sister and is confused about what happened, but she denied attacking the officer.
Meanwhile, the California Highway Patrol is grateful Melendrez intervened.
"The good Samaritan, he put his life on the line. We appreciate what he did for Officer Martinson," said Officer Franco Castillo with CHP.
Brad Selover, Melendrez’s boss at Selover’s Towing, said he’s proud of his employee for his heroic actions.
And it turns out the company specifically trains their drivers to be on the lookout for officers in trouble.
"They’re out there daily helping us to slow down traffic, so I teach them to return the favor. You know, keep an eye on the officers and make sure they’re standing upright when we go by," Selover said.
For his part, Melendrez said he’s just glad he happened to be there to help.
The CHP said Martinson is sore from his stab wounds, but that he’s resting at home and is expected to make a full recovery.
"I'm glad he's good,” Melendrez said. “I hope to see him soon and talk to him.”