Members of the Beeville Volunteer Fire Department were called to the scene at 8:47 a.m. Tuesday to conduct a rescue operation after a witness saw Dr. Maximiliano Herrera’s vehicle crash into the creek.
They were joined by several deputies from the Bee County Sheriffs Office and emergency medical technicians from Angel Care Ambulance Service.
A witness said he was following Herrera when he noticed his vehicle veer off to the south side of State Highway 202 and crash into the creek.
The doctor serves state prison units in this area and was apparently on his way to the William G. McConnell Unit a short distance from where the highway crosses the creek.
Firefighters said the witness called 911 immediately and then realized that Herrera’s vehicle had landed upside down in the shallow creek.
One of Angel Care’s EMTs, Joe Hernandez, made his way to the underside of the vehicle and then eased down the back of the vehicle to a hatch. Herrera was inside in about two feet of water.
Hernandez helped get the doctor out of the rear hatch and onto the underside of the vehicle. Medical technicians, firemen and deputy sheriffs crawled onto the vehicle to assist.
Hernandez was sitting up and it appeared he had not been seriously injured. However, firemen and EMTs put him on a backboard and then placed a rescue sled so he could be pulled up the steep and heavily overgrown creek bank.
Fire Chief Donald C. Morris took charge of the rescue operation, radioing instructions to firefighters and others at the scene.
The BVFD’s tower truck was called into action to assist in the event that the rescuers were unable to get the victim up the creek bank.
BVFD President Ronald “Buddy” Hardy said the bucket on the tower truck could have easily reached the overturned vehicle. He said it was the first time the vehicle had been used in a rescue since the million dollar truck was purchased by the city several months ago.
About two dozen deputies, EMTs and firemen, including Sheriff Carlos Carrizales Jr., Chief Deputy Alden Southmayd and Bee County Jail Commander Mike Page, helped to get the stretcher from the overturned vehicle and up the creek bank.
Herrera appeared to have only minor injuries as he was placed in a waiting ambulance, under the direction of paramedic Mickie Ochoa, co-owner of Angel Care Ambulance Service.
Several TDCJ personnel arrived at the scene as the rescue was underway to make sure the doctor was all right.
According to a report on file at the BVFD’s C.M. Smitty” Smith Central Fire Station, firemen had cleared the scene and returned to the station at 10:30 a.m.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.