Local News

Caltrans Employee Saves Life of Baby Boy on Highway

SAN DIEGO (KTLA) — A Caltrans employee was hailed a hero Wednesday after he saved the life of a baby boy.

Joe Thomas had just finished up his day repairing potholes and was headed back to the Department of Transportation depot when he came across a vehicle on the shoulder of California State Highway 54.

“I don’t know why I took that way, I usually use E Street but something told me to take the 54,” said Thomas. “I saw a woman crying.  They were shocked and I was shocked too seeing this, so I pulled over to the right shoulder.”

That detour Thomas decided to take ended up saving 13-month old Cesar Ortiz’s life.

Little Cesar had had a seizure in the car and stopped breathing, the boy’s grandmother said.

“When I grabbed the child, he wasn’t moving and his eyes were rolled back,” said Thomas.

He performed CPR, and after about five minutes, baby Cesar started gasping and tried to breathe on his own.

When paramedics arrived, they took Cesar to Children’s Hospital.

The seizure was possibly brought on by the 103 degree fever he had been fighting, according to doctors.

Cesar’s mother, Denise Ortiz, was grateful Thomas saw them on the side of the highway.

If Thomas hadn’t shown up, she’s not sure if her son would be alive today, Ortiz said.

The mother of four was planning to learn CPR.

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