Timing Was Right For Hill South Duo

Markeshia Ricks PhotoNew Haven police officers Keron Bryce and Osvaldo Garcia were arresting a suspect and about to send him downtown in the prisoner transport van, when they heard a sound that neither man will ever forget.

“We just heard this crash,” Garcia remembers.

“It was a loud crash,” Bryce added.

The sound was like ... “BOOM!” they said in near unison.

Garcia (pictured above at right) only heard it. But Bryce saw it too: A tan SUV had turned from Orange Avenue into the southbound lane of Ella T. Grasso Boulevard and landed on top of a blue Kia.

Moments before the crash, Hill South District Manager Lt. Brendan Hosey had pulled up. So had the prisoner transport vehicle. “It was really perfect timing,” Garcia said.

Bryce, who is originally from Brooklyn but grew up in Hamden, said it is the most exciting moment in the nearly three years of his career so far. He and Garcia have been patrolling the streets of Hill South together since August (quickly establishing themselves as a productive team). They’ve been friends since they went through the police academy together and graduated in May 2012.

“Me and him are like brothers,” said Garcia, who was born and raised in Waterbury. “We have a big brother, little brother relationship.” That means they go in for tons of teasing and laughs, when they’re not busy saving lives. Garcia, 32, has worked in the Hill the entire time he’s been an officer, and enjoys it. Bryce, 24, joined him last year.  The pair operate as a team—which meant they could act quickly, and save lives, when they came upon that Boulevard chain-crash on April 15.

Bryce rushed over to the crash scene on foot. Garcia jumped in their squad car to head over.

The men said it looked like a scene from an action movie. The rear tires of the SUV were spinning because the driver of the vehicle still had his foot on the accelerator.

“There was just a trail of smoke coming from the SUV,” Bryce said. All of the airbags had deployed in the car. Something appeared to be on fire.

The driver had turned into oncoming traffic at about 6 p.m. in the middle of the week. The initial crash landing of the SUV created a chain reaction of collisions, with the blue Kia being rear-ended and other cars behind that rear-ending the cars in front of them.

Bryce went to check on the driver of the Kia and the other drivers behind it, a number of whom yelled that the driver of the SUV was still in the car.

Garcia ran to the driver’s side of the tan SUV and tried to open the door. He discovered it was locked.

“I could see the driver slumped over in the car,” he recalled.

He would later learn that the man, who had broken his leg in the crash, had either had a seizure or a stroke while driving. That likely contributed to him losing consciousness and turning into oncoming traffic.

Garcia used his baton to break the window and open the door. He tried to pull the man out, but realized that he was still wearing his seat belt. Garcia undid the belt and went to pull the man out.

He must have weighed 215-230 pounds, Garcia estimated. He couldn’t carry the man alone.

Bryce hurried over and offered the needed second pair of arms. The officers hauled the man to safety.

It was the first time Garcia has saved someone’s life. “This is what I signed up to do,” he said. “For me to say I made a difference in someone’s life, it felt good.”

Though the crash produced lots of injuries—Garcia was treated for smoke inhalation—no one died.

“The ambulances just kept coming,” Bryce said. “Then the fire department showed up.” The officers’ work was done.

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posted by: Marion on April 27, 2015  3:47pm

Bravo!  Good job!

posted by: Hill Resident on April 27, 2015  4:31pm

These two are the best and we are privileged to have them!!!

posted by: Trustme on April 28, 2015  1:05pm

Great jobs guys!!!