Team Member Applies Safety Training to Real-Life Emergency

January 2022 – Instincts kicked in after a former U.S. Navy veteran and current Watco team member Jesus Cepeda witnessed a major car accident while on the job earlier this year.

A railcar coordinator at a Watco mobile mechanical location in Medina, Texas, Cepeda was returning from a customer site in San Antonio when a vehicle crossed Highway 90 and hit a semi-truck.

The accident left the driver of the vehicle temporarily unresponsive and the car hood in flames.

Cepeda’s teammate, Railcar Repairman Joe Torres, recounts what happened next: “His safety training immediately kicked in. Jesus grabbed the fire extinguisher from his truck and sprayed the flames coming out of the engine.”

His quick response let other bystanders remove the driver from the burning car. Cepeda’s help didn’t end there. He retrieved the first-aid kit from his truck and gave it to an off-duty paramedic to  treat the driver’s burns before the ambulance arrived.

Torres said, “Without the bravery and selflessness of Jesus, I’m not sure the driver of the car would have made it out alive.”

Both Cepeda’s experience in the military and Watco’s safety training equipped him to handle this emergency. Fire extinguisher use, CPR, and first-aid training are among the many safety courses Watco offers to team members each year.

Cepeda’s supervisor, Operations Manager Jason Garza, wasn’t shocked to discover Cepeda had used his safety skills to help a stranger in need.

Garza said, “What I liked the most is that Jesus acted like he didn’t do anything special. He didn’t need validation from me. He looked at it as simply helping another person, just another day on the job.”

Read about others like Jesus who are making a difference at Watco and beyond. See more stories