Robert Immoos, a heavy equipment operator of the California Department of Transportation’s District 3, was honored Dec. 9. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger presented him with a Medal of Valor during a special ceremony that honors state employees who have demonstrated extraordinary acts of bravery and heroism to save the life of another. The Medal of Valor is the highest honor that California awards to its public servants.
On April 18, 2008, Immoos was working in the Castle Peak area and found himself performing an act of heroism at great risk to his personal safety by guiding a wrong-way driver to safety on Interstate 80 near Donner Summit.
Immoos was monitoring his CB radio when he heard some truckers talking about a wrong-way driver driving westbound in the eastbound lanes in the Castle Peak area. Immoos drove up the eastbound Castle Peak on-ramp and happened to see the wrong-way driver going west in the No. 1 eastbound lane. He made a u-turn and headed west in the No. 2 eastbound lane (which happened to be closed due to construction activity) and approached the wrong-way driver as eastbound traffic was swerving to avoid the wrong-way driver.
Immoos could not get the attention of the wrong-way driver to get him over into the closed lane, so he decided that at the next natural traffic break, he would turn into oncoming traffic in front of the wrong-way driver with all his warning lights on and get the wrong-way driver to slow down and follow him out of the hot traffic lanes and into the closed lanes.
While avoiding several on-coming vehicles, Immoos was able to use his directional lights guide the wrong-way driver to the safety of the closed lanes.
Without a thought for his personal safety, Immoos prevented a potential serious head-on traffic collision, potential loss of life and possible multi-car collisions.