If you travel any part of 422 on a regular basis you have certainly seen your fair share of police, usually waiting to catch speeders. However, this was not the case last Saturday in Oaks when west bound drivers passed a Reading Police K9 Unit vehicle with a flat tire sitting on the side of the road.
It’s been a long week for K-9 Hemi and his handler, Reading Police Officer Hector Santiago. After becoming ill earlier in the week Hemi was sent to a vet in Philadelphia for treatment. Feeling better, it was time for Hemi’s return home.
With no warning the tire on Officer Santiago’s Police SUV suddenly blew out leaving him no choice but to pull over of the shoulder of 422. Thinking he could use the spare Santiago searched for the lug wrench and tire only to find the placement of the spare tire to be in a less than desirable place.
His other issue was traffic, being only feet away from the white line of the highway made changing the tire nearly impossible by himself. With a call into a tow truck and no other help Santiago was stuck waiting on the side of the road.
Spenser Sandoval was not having the best day on Saturday. If being overworked from his 3 jobs wasn’t enough, he found himself receiving a speeding ticket from Pottstown Police while driving on Route 100 in the morning. Now driving up from Valley Forge on 422 Sandoval spotted a police car on the side of the road, but something didn’t seem right to him. That’s when he noticed the flat tire. As an car enthusiast he thought he would stop and see if he could help.
“My sister is a State Park Ranger so I respect the field, even though a cop gave me a ticket this morning, one wrong doesn’t mean I can’t help a guy out” said Sandoval.
After speaking with Officer Santiago about how long it would take a tow truck to arrive Sandoval made a call to his friends CJ and Richard Mckinney. As experienced car dealership mechanics, the three were very confident they could get Officer Santiago back on the road in a very short time.
After Officer Santiago cleared his trunk of weapons and emergency equipment, the trio was now ready to pull out the spare. “They don’t make it easy, we actually had to remove some of the bottom paneling just to get to the tire. It took us longer than expected” said Sandoval.
Once out of the trunk the tire was changed in no time. Being next to traffic, Sandoval recalls the his time on the side of the highway. “A few people driving by were laughing, I saw an empty tow truck drive by and surprisingly no other police”.
Of course timing is everything and once the tire was changed the tow truck arrived. With all of the work already done Sandoval and his friends jumped back into their cars and followed Officer Santiago up to Pottstown where they exited to head back home.
It didn’t take to long for word to spread about their good deed on social media. Grateful for the thanks, Sandoval hopes more people will take the time to help others in need, no matter who they are. “I wanna show people that not all cops are bad, they have a long day every single day, if I can make their day better than i’m going to do it.”
Extremely happy for their help, Officer Santiago took to social media to congratulate Sandoval and his friends. “[Iv’e] Been a cop for 15 years and never had anyone do this for me. They are the reason why I believe they are good people who deserve my service. I’m proud to say I made new friends. Thank you guys and I truly hope you guys stay safe.” said Officer Santiago.