San Diego

‘I Need to Do This': US Navy Sailors Help Driver Who Plunged 25 Feet Down Embankment in City Heights

“There was no way anyone else would come so we just did what every man does; it came naturally,” said Robert Stanciu, a Navy service member who stopped to help a driver who plunged down an embankment in City Heights on Thanksgiving

Two U.S. Navy service members stepped in to help a woman who crashed her car 25 feet down an embankment in San Diego’s City Heights area on Thanksgiving Day, knowing it was on them to save her while help arrived.

“(I thought), ‘I’m here, I’m the first one, I need to do this,’” Good Samaritan Robert Stanciu told NBC 7. “I couldn’t just walk off.”

The sailors were driving home after spending Thanksgiving Day in Coronado when, at around 7 p.m., they noticed a car swerving in front of them near the transition from northbound Interstate 15 to Interstate 805.

Stanciu felt it in his gut – this wasn’t good.

“The car swerved a few times, it hit into the wall, it (spun), and it just went down over here,” he recounted. “I was like, ‘Okay, we need to stop. There is no way we’re going to keep going. We need to stop, see what’s going on.’”

The woman behind the wheel had lost control and crashed, plunging approximately 25 feet down an embankment off the freeway.

The bloodied driver was unresponsive, bent over on top of the steering wheel, the weight of her head causing the car’s horn to honk.


Stanciu and his friend pulled over, called 911 and rushed down the embankment to help the driver. He said what they did was not heroic, just the right thing to do. Some of their Navy training kicked in.

“We were absolutely the first responders. There was no way anyone else would come so we just did what every man does; it came naturally,” he explained.

Stanciu said he was grateful – especially on Thanksgiving Day – to have been there to help somebody.

“It was a beautiful day,” he added.

Emergency crews soon arrived and loaded the woman onto an ambulance. Details of what led to the crash were not immediately released by investigators.

No one else was hurt.

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