Whether or not you believe in guardian angels, there's no denying that police officer Carlos Basurto is a lucky man.
The officer from San Mateo, California almost lost his life in a terrifying car crash earlier this month.
In a viral Facebook post, Basurto's brother Alfy says the injured cop owes his life to a mysterious, unidentified man who was in the right place at the right time.
“He said it was either me or the car in front of me”
Basurto has 13 years experience as a police officer, and he was driving home after a shift on the night of his accident.
"He was driving home from work late last week," Alfy shared in an emotional Facebook post. "He fell asleep at the wheel and rolled his car several times."
Carlos later told his brother that he woke up just before striking another car, and flipped his own vehicle because he swerved out of the way.
"He said it was either me or the car in front of me," Alfy told the Mercury News.
Basurto was trapped inside his car, and Alfy says his brother "knew he was bleeding out at the scene."
Basurto was forced to ask a stranger who stopped by his car to tie a tourniquet around his injured arm.
"Carlos taught the man how to do it while he was trapped in his car," Alfy wrote.
In a twist of fate, Basurto had only learned how to tie a tourniquet two months earlier in a training session.
"He said the only thought on his mind was he did not want to die in his car. So he forced himself to remain conscious until emergency crews were able to remove him."
"Caring for someone in Carlos’s condition wreaks havoc on your mind and body"
It took the Jaws of Life to pry officer Basurto out of his car, and emergency room doctors said the tourniquets on his arm saved his life.
But the stranger who tied them on didn't wait at the scene for police to arrive.
“We don’t know the person who helped him,” Basurto's sister Norma Avelar said. “But whoever it is we would like to thank them for helping my brother save his life.”
While Basurto was badly injured, Alfy says the dedicated officer was still worrying about his wife and four sons when he arrived at the hospital, asking staff to save his life for their sake.
Alfy shared a dramatic photo of Basurto's wife, Cindy, asleep next to his hospital bed.
"We all took turns sleeping with Carlos, but Cindy definitely put in the most hours in the hospital," he wrote.
"There’s a lot of pain and suffering in this photo. Of course by Carlos, but also by Cindy. Caring for someone in Carlos’s condition wreaks havoc on your mind and body."
So far Basurto has had four major surgeries, but he will need more reconstructive operations soon. His legs were nearly amputated, and his right arm will be permanently damaged from the crash.
“He’s doing well for the circumstances," said Basurto's brother Jaime.
"By no means is he out of the woods yet, but he’s made progress every day.”
Here are more incredible true stories about good Samaritans:
- When they turned off a disabled teen's life support, he came to the rescue.
- He paid for a stranger's coffee, and wound up saving his life.
- A stranger's kindness brings bridal shop to dying mother's bedside.