I-Team: Tow truck driver hailed as hero, questions surround his story

LAS VEGAS - Anthony Garcia was honored by the Clark County Fire Department Thursday. 

"You're a true hero," a fireman said." "Thank you very much."

The tow truck driver was recognized for helping another driver following a wreck. The I-Team obtained exclusive video from the incident, but the story now has a few twists and turns because it's still unclear as to why the other driver who caused this crash was having trouble behind the wheel.

The Nevada Highway Patrol says the story from the tow truck driver doesn't quite add up. 

On the dashcam video from a trooper arrives at the crash scene on the off-ramp of Interstate 15 near Fashion Show Mall approaching the Las Vegas Strip.  Once the trooper got out of the car, the video showed him trying to make sure the driver in the vehicle pinned by the tow truck, stopped moving.

"I was able to get next to him, and the only thing I could think of was to ram the side of his car with my truck," Garcia said.  "We got locked together, and I was able to pull him to a stop."

The video released by NHP also shows a witness standing along I-15.  The witness said he also tried to help the driver.

"Follow him," the witness Travis Mercer yelled. "Go, man, go!"

The I-Team tracked down Mercer, and he backed up Garcia's story.  The men said the car had been stopped on the ramp, but it was still running.  It looked like the driver had a medical episode, but his foot was still near the pedal.

The doors were locked, but Garcia and Mercer frantically banged on the windows trying to intervene, but Garcia told authorities the car suddenly took off, so he quickly jumped in his tow truck and followed, and that's when he pinned the car.

"I did what I thought I had to do because he was going for it," Garcia said.

Police originally put the driver in handcuffs, but once NHP troopers and firefighters spoke with him, they asked him what year they were in, and the man said "1970..."

The man was then put into an ambulance. The man's medical diagnosis was a coughing spell that led to lightheadedness and the loss of consciousness.

The incident report shows there weren't any signs of intoxication or outward symptoms of impairment on the driver, but it's unclear if his blood was even tested.  The driver wasn't arrested.

NHP says Garcia's story doesn't add up because their investigation revealed no damage consistent with Garcia's claims that the car hit several walls after it sped away.

Mercer said the bottom line is that Garcia saved lives.

"Nothing crossed my mind except stopping the car some way," Garcia said.

Garcia was fired from his job following the incident because according to his former boss, he wasn't trained to pull the maneuver.

Garcia's former boss said Garcia is a nice guy, but what he did was a move of deadly force.  He says it could have gone terribly wrong and Garcia could have pushed the car into oncoming traffic.


 


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