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A 21-year-old tow truck driver who came to the aid of a CHP officer stabbed in the back during an I-5 traffic stop is being hailed for keeping a dangerous situation from getting worse.
Christian Melendrez of Arbuckle works for Selover’s Towing in Williams, which contracts with the California Highway Patrol, according to Officer Franco Castillo, spokesmen for the Williams CHP office. But on Saturday, Melendrez provided a different kind of police assistance.
Melendrez happened to be driving northbound on Interstate 5 just south of Myers Road near Williams when he saw a CHP officer wrestling with a woman on the right shoulder, Castillo said. He pulled over in front of their vehicles, backed up and jumped out of his truck.
The officer called out to Melendrez that he had been stabbed and asked him to help get a second cuff on the woman he was struggling to get under control, which Melendrez did, Castillo said.
Officer Philip Martinson had pulled over Haile Neil, 25, for driving more than 100 miles an hour down the interstate, Castillo said. Martinson suspected Neil was under the influence and asked her to exit the vehicle.
During a DUI evaluation, Neil became belligerent and made a break for it, Castillo said. Martinson gave chase and a struggle ensued.
Neil then pulled out a knife and stabbed Martinson in the back, Castillo said. Martinson had gotten one of the cuffs on Neil and was wrestling to put the other one on when Melendrez showed up to assist.
Martinson was taken to Enloe Medical Center in Chico, where he was treated for his injuries and later released, Castillo said. The three-year CHP veteran is recovering at home.
So many things can happen on the roadside, with traffic passing at highway speeds, Castillo said, adding that this situation was dangerous for everyone involved, including Melendrez.
“It was very unselfish of him and the CHP appreciates his efforts,” Castillo said.
Neil is being held at Colusa County jail.
Colusa County Superior Court records show Neil was arraigned Wednesday afternoon on multiple charges, including driving under the influence of drugs, attempted murder of a peace officer and assault on a peace officer.