Calif. man helps save trapped family, gets $143 bill

Derrick Deanda, left, and an image of the SUV that he helped rescue a family from CBS SACRAMENTO

ELK GROVE, Calif. (CBS)– A man who helped a family trapped a crash got a bill in the mail for his unselfish act.

Paramedics sent him the first-responder fee of nearly $150 after he says they only checked his pulse and gave him a bottle of water, reports CBS Sacramento.

A photo shows the aftermath of the scary rollover crash that trapped a man and his three children trapped inside.

Derrick Deanda jumped into action and recounted the heart-pounding moment.

“I pulled up right as it happened,” he said. “There was a guy standing inside the van, because it was on its side, holding a 2 year-old infant.”

Deanda broke the glass to free the family before paramedics arrived. Everyone was okay.

But weeks later Deanda got a bill in the mail from the Cosumnes Community Services District with a $143 first-responder fee.

Deputy Chief Mike McLaughlin says his district billed the good Samaritan.

“We’re obligated to provide the same level of service, the same billing the same everything, for every patient we encounter,” he said.

Deanda became a patient, he says, when a paramedic at the scene checked him out after breaking the van window to help save the family inside. Deanda had a small cut.

“This is truly a unique situation,” he said. “In my 28 years, this is my first time I’ve run into a situation similar to this.”

The district began implementing the fee two years ago in a move it says prevents fire station brownouts.

But in this case, McLaughlin says he’d like to see the fee waived.

“There is a mechanism for appealing this. a mechanism for making this right. Our desire it to make it right,” he said.

But for now, this heroic act deserving of a medal has Deanda facing a bill.

“I mean why would I want to stop to help somebody if I’m going to get a bill for $150?” he said.

Deanda plans to appeal and hopes the matter is resolved before it goes to collections.

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