California police officer helps 88-year-old crash victim celebrate birthday

Posted at 2:55 PM, Jun 22, 2021

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — A California police officer went above and beyond for the victim of a nasty car crash who was on his way to celebrate his 88th birthday.

An 88-year-old man, identified as Mr. Theodore, was riding on Avocado Blvd. in El Cajon with a friend to a birthday lunch, but their plans took an unexpected turn. Police say a mechanical problem with the car forced the driver to lose control.

"They were unable to maintain control of the vehicle which led it to hit an SDG&E pole, multiple fences, causing it to roll over seven to eight times," said officer Melad Tilko.

The car rolled down the embankment, landing on its roof in a shopping center.

"Having their seatbelts worn played a major role in that," said Tilko. "I couldn't tell you what could have happened if they didn't have their seatbelts on."

Officer Tilko was one of the first to respond to the crash. He said when he arrived, the elderly female driver was still trapped in the car. She had to be taken out by emergency crews. Two bystanders helped out Mr. Theodore.

"He stated that there were two gentlemen. He couldn't recall what they looked like," said Tilko.

The pair was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital with minor injuries, with the thought of the birthday celebration gone. But officer Tilko organized getting a birthday card and gift certificate to Wrangler BBQ, the restaurant where the two were headed for lunch and delivered it to Mr. Theodore at the hospital.

"As law enforcement, we try to make a positive impact in the world. For something like this, we're here to help as well," said Tilko.

Mr. Theodore was a little shy and decided not to go on camera with KGTV but says he's grateful for the officer. The two are now searching for the good Samaritans.

"I like to speak to them and thank them because it probably saved his life," said Tilko.

The officer says he has checked on Mr. Theodore since the crash. He is happy to report he is doing great.

This story was originally published by Natay Holmes at KGTV.