A Phoenix police officer took his wife on a ride-along with him when he got a call about a car crash that led to a family trapped in a canal.
It was only the second time Phoenix Police Sergeant Jason Malecki took his wife, Allison Malecki, on a ride-along, and no doubt she got more than she bargained for when her husband received the call that a vehicle with a family — including a child — had rolled over into the canal.
“I was patrolling Maryville. It was a slow night,” Malecki recalled. That’s when the call came in.
Malecki, closest to the accident, immediately responded — with his wife as a partner.
Officers were not sure how the car ended up there, but did say it was extremely dark and narrow in the area.
When Officer Malecki and his wife — who works as a librarian — arrived on the scene, they immediately began their rescue.
“I jumped out of the car. She jumped out of the car,” Malecki remembered.
The heroic rescue was captured on body camera footage.
“Yep, hang on! I’m going to help you right now! I’ve got you, hang on, hang on!” Malecki replied to the family trapped in the water yelling for help. Then he turned to his wife.
“He’s got kids and everything in there, so we’re going to grab some rope and see if we can get them out,” Malecki said.
“I’m going to need your help here because I don’t know what I’m going to get into and how I’m going to get these people out,” he said.
Two adults and a 3-year-old girl were trapped in the car, which was stuck in the rushing water.
“It was a full-size Dodge Durango on its side with the water rushing around it. The airbags were deployed, the headlights were on. It was really shocking to see,” Allison Malecki said.
A backup patrol arrived shortly after to offer assistance. Their main priority was getting the 3-year-old girl to safety.
Using a rope to climb down, officers were able to secure the crying child and pass her along to Malecki, who then passed her to his wife, who was waiting to receive her on the bank while he continued to assist with the rope to make sure his squad was safe.
“Come here, honey, I’ve got you. I’ve got you. You’re OK; you’re OK, come here. I’ve got you,” Malecki could be heard saying as the girl was handed to his wife.
All three people in the vehicle were rescued with minimal injuries.
“We did it without even saying anything. We all just knew what we had to do,” Malecki said.