GPD Detective Villanueva honored for heroic deed

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Detective Luis Villanueva of the Gardena Police Department

Gardena Police Detective Luis Villanueva recently received the department’s Lifesaving Award for his efforts in helping to lift an overturned car that had pinned the driver underneath.

In addition, once the driver was free from the car, Villanueva noticed that the man wasn’t breathing and cleared the man’s throat of the dirt and leaves that were blocking his airway.

The rescue, which occurred at approximately 10:55 a.m. May 5, 2015, was at the intersection of Gardena Boulevard and Normandie Avenue.

Gardena Police Detective Luis Villanueva recently received the department’s Lifesaving Award for his efforts in helping to lift an overturned car that had pinned the driver underneath.

In addition, once the driver was free from the car, Villanueva noticed that the man wasn’t breathing and cleared the man’s throat of the dirt and leaves that were blocking his airway.

The rescue, which occurred at approximately 10:55 a.m. May 5, 2015, was at the intersection of Gardena Boulevard and Normandie Avenue.

According to police, the driver was a Gardena resident in his 20s, who was running late for work and was speeding down Gardena Boulevard. He lost control of the car near Peary Middle School and crashed into a wall. The car flipped over as a result.

Villanueva, who is the Gardena Police’s school resource officer, came upon the accident while he was dropping off a truant student at Peary Middle School. While on the scene, he saw two guys walking by whom he immediately asked to help lift the car off of the driver. The two guys rocked the car off of the victim enough for Villanueva to slide the driver out from underneath.

“It felt good that we were able to help the young man and apparently he didn’t suffer any serious injuries. I was in the right place at the right time,” Villanueva said.

On May 26, 2016, at the Torrance Marriott, the South Bay Police and Fire Memorial Association honored Villanueva with their Lifesaving Award pin presented to him by Gardena Police Chief Edward Medrano. Villanueva, who is a 15-year veteran of the Gardena Police Department, is former distinguished service award winner.

“It doesn’t surprise me based on his character and his commitment to the community,” Medrano said. “There’s no other way to describe it but heroic. He saved a person’s life by being decisive and engaging the community for help.”

GPD Detective Villanueva honored for heroic deed