A Huntington Beach police officer was hailed as a hero Tuesday after giving first aid to a 5-year-old girl as she lay unconscious and critically injured after being struck by a car.
"We consider him a hero," Sgt. Irwin Feuerstein, a spokesman for the Huntington Beach Police Department, said of officer Mark Hanson, a 14-year veteran of the force.
He gave this account of the incident, which happened about 2 p.m. on Slater Avenue near Jacquelin Street:
Lucia Garcia was taking a walk with her grandmother and a 2-year-old boy when the little girl suddenly dashed into traffic and was struck by a 1988 Ford Taurus traveling west.
"They were all stopped on Slater, and the girl ran out and got hit by the car," he said.
Hanson arrived on the scene within minutes, found the girl was not breathing and gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until paramedics arrived.
"That was a significant factor," Feuerstein said. "The first couple of minutes is what counts--it's what tells whether someone is going to live or die."
The child was rushed to Huntington Beach Hospital then transferred to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where she was in critical condition and underwent emergency surgery for internal injuries.
The child's grandmother, 61-year-old Segura Socorro of Huntington Beach, and the 2-year-old boy were not injured.
The car's driver, a 47-year-old Villa Park woman, was not charged, Feuerstein said.
Hanson, who is married and has three children, is a longtime member of the police department's traffic division and its SWAT team, Feuerstein said. Among his achievements are numerous awards from Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.
"He's always been real active in traffic enforcement," Feuerstein said. "He's a real good dude."