SAN ANTONIO — A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper shared his gratitude for the helicopter pilots who helped save his life. Sergeant David Alcantar was able to meet them for the first time.
On Tuesday, the troopers, part of the Aircraft Division, were awarded for their heroic efforts in a deadly high-speed chase back in February.
"All I can say is a million thank you's, and without them I am not sure where I would be," Alcantar said.
It was on Sunday, February 18 that Alcantar tried to pull over 33-year-old Ernest Montelongo for an unspecified traffic stop. Gunfire was exchanged between Alcantar and Montelongo. The suspect later died.
DPS Tactical Flight Officer Colton Kendall and DPS Lt. Pilot Terry Mcquagge were flying the chopper.
"The way it looked, it looked like it was going to go south," Kendall said. They helped find Montelongo and rushed to their injured fellow brother.
"Because of their quick thinking, their action, and decision-making, possibly a reason why I am still here today," Alcantar said.
They landed in the middle of I-10 and took Alcantar to the hospital.
"Every second counts, Mcquagge said. "It just makes you think how precious life is."
Alcantar was shot in the arm, and still goes to therapy.
"This is a trust testament of, 'it doesn't matter what patch you wear, or what badge you wear, we are all here to protect each other,'" Alcantar said. I feel like they are a part of the rest of my life."
Sgt. Alcantar said life is even more valuable after the arrival of his first-born daughter.
"It was already valuable," he said. "But it is a lot more valuable, because not only do I need to be here for myself, but for my wife, and another life-breathing being."
It took him seven months to get back to work. He's now based at DPS headquarters in Austin.