May 28, 2014
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A driver who crashed into the fence of a ranch on Valley View Road in Richmond Monday afternoon is going to be OK thanks to a veteran police officer who recognized the man was suffering from a diabetic emergency, police said.

About 2 p.m., two police officers were called to the 5500 block of Valley View Road, where a vehicle reportedly crashed into a telephone pole and then a fence and almost plummeted into a ravine.

Before the crash, the ranch’s manager told police he spotted the vehicle blocking the entrance to his property. He knocked on the window and found a disoriented man alone in the driver’s seat.

Suddenly, the vehicle lunged forward and crashed. By then, the ranch manager’s family had arrived at the scene to witness the sudden collision.

Responding officers attempted to make contact with the driver and found he was “totally out of it,” police said.

“The guy could be DUI or suffering a mental episode; we really couldn’t tell,” said police Sgt. Nicole Abetkov, who was called to the scene.


A driver suffering from a diabetic episode remembers leaving his home in the 3400 block of Richmond Parkway, but doesn’t remember ending up in the 5500 block of Valley View Road, just north of Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, where he crashed.

One of the first responders, a top veteran patrol division cop who once worked for RPD’s traffic division, had responded to diabetic episodes in the past and believed the driver was suffering from one, Abetkov said.

Risking the possibility that the driver could get violent, police smashed the car window and pulled the driver out. Paramedics were already at the scene and administered insulin as the driver yelled the entire time in the back of the ambulance, Abetkov said.

“Within 20 minutes after getting insulin, he was a completely different person,” the sergeant said.

The man told police he lives in the 3400 block of Richmond Parkway and was on his way to get something to eat to treat his low blood sugar.

“Next thing you know, [the man] said he felt like he was in a dream,” Abetkov said.

The man said he didn’t remember anything until being treated in the ambulance. He was transported to Kaiser Richmond for further treatment and is expected to be OK.

“He’s lucky he didn’t crash into anybody,” Abetkov said. “Luckily it all worked out.”


About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.