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Freeway service worker says he was fired after stopping out-of-control vehicle

Posted at 12:49 AM, Mar 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-17 08:41:23-04

A Freeway Service Patrol driver says he was fired days after stopping an out-of-control car from doing more damage.

Anthony Garcia says the crash that led to his firing happened Friday morning on the northbound Interstate 15 off-ramp at Spring Mountain Road.

He responded to a call for a car that hit a wall on the off-ramp.

When he arrived, he says he found the car sitting against the retaining wall.

"The doors are locked, windows are up. I notice the engine is still running and the car is still in drive," Garcia said.

Garcia said it appeared the driver of the car was having a medical episode and he tried to brace the wheels while calling his dispatch.

"I called on the radio and asked for permission, so I don't get in trouble, If I could break the glass so I could put it in park or at least shut off the car," Garcia said.

"All of a sudden it floored it from the scene.  He was taking off down the ramp.  I could tell it was going all over the place.  Nobody was at the wheel."

At that point the driver with 5 years experience said he got back on the radio.

I called in and said I need to use my IRV [Incident  Response Vehicle] to stop this vehicle. It kept hitting the left wall over and over. I don't know how it didn't hit the other cars on the ramp," Garcia said.

The drivers says he saw the car headed for the end of the ramp towards the Las Vegas Strip and Fashion Show Mall.

"I made the decision that I need to hit this vehicle or get in front of it if I can to stop it from going down that hill into the intersection," Garcia said.

After puling alongside, Garcia says he pinned the two vehicles together.

"I was able to hit the brakes and get us stopped," Garcia said.

At that point he said a Nevada Highway Patrol vehicle arrived and was able to get the driver awake.

Garcia said he was suspended that day, but when he returned to work Wednesday he was fired.

"I was told I should have used my radio to contact police," Garcia said.

Garcia said his bosses went on to say his actions could have caused an even bigger problem.

13 Action News placed several calls to Quality Towing, which operated Freeway Service Patrol under contract with NDOT.

The company did not return those calls for comment.