Gary Jantz could’ve been killed on Valentine’s Day when his truck slammed into a utility pole in Livingston.
The downed power pole dropped live electrical lines on top of his truck. When he tried to get out of his vehicle, he was shocked by the electricity and knocked unconscious. The power lines also had caused a grass fire nearby on Robin Road.
He may have been electrocuted, too, according to the California Highway Patrol, if it hadn’t been for the heroics of four teenage boys from Livingston.
The Livingston High School students - Jose Balderas, Alejandro Cervantes and Gabriel Maldonado Padilla, and Carlos Barragan – saw the crashed truck and scrambled out their vehicle “without hesitation” and managed to drag Jantz away from the crash scene safely.
"These four young men, they saved a life on Valentine's Day," CHP Lt. Gil Piersol said Friday.
The young heroes were honored Friday during an assembly at Livingston High School.
After Piersol handed the students their certificates, a thunderous round of cheers filled the gymnasium.
Maldonado Padilla, who spoke with reporters on behalf of the four friends, said they were on their way back to school when they saw the truck and fire.
Jantz's family was at the assembly watching Jantz stand next to the four students as Piersol read aloud the inscription on the certificates that described the act.
"It was a dangerous situation for them too," Jantz said. "But they were willing to stop and do something about it."
After the ceremony, Jantz talked with the students, showing them the burn scars from the crash and thanking them for their efforts.
Maldonado Padilla said the certificate was an honor.
"Saving a life was really a dramatic event that changed our (lives)," he said. "We're always going to remember this and it will keep us together."