Customs and Border Patrol Agent Travis Creteau
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol
Washington, DC—The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has announced the selection of Customs and Border Patrol Agent Travis Creteau to receive its Officer of the Month award for May 2013.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 27 people die in incidents related to drunk driving every day in the United States. Far too many of them are innocent children who have never even sat behind the wheel of an automobile. On August 5, 2012, a woman took her five-year-old daughter to Mountain Hawk Park outside Chula Vista, California, for a play date with another child and her father. The parents drank beer and watched as the girls played for most of the afternoon.
Shortly after 6:00 pm, Border Patrol Agent Travis Creteau was on patrol near the Otay Reservoir, when he was flagged down by citizens who had witnessed a vehicle lose control and plunge into the reservoir. The female driver and her male passenger had extricated themselves from the vehicle and were standing on shore. It was soon learned that two little girls were trapped inside the vehicle, which was submerged two feet underwater.
Agent Creteau swam the 40 feet through the murky water to the vehicle. Two civilians were already attempting to open one of the doors, so he swam to the opposite side of the SUV. After several attempts, Agent Creteau was able to open the door. With zero visibility, he felt inside the compartment, cut the seatbelt, and removed one limp, cold child from the vehicle. After handing off the child to a civilian, he dove back down to save the second child. After three attempts, Agent Creteau was able to untangle her from debris and remove her from the car. She too was handed to one of the civilians who brought her to shore.
Nearing exhaustion, Agent Creteau rested on top of the submerged vehicle momentarily and swam to shore. He performed CPR on both children until he became too fatigued and was relieved by another Border Patrol Agent. Both young girls were airlifted to the hospital, but despite Agent Creteau’s valiant and selfless actions, and that of the civilians, both little girls succumbed to their injuries later that evening. Both the driver of the vehicle and her male companion were found to have more than 1 ½ times the legal limit for drunken driving. Charges have been filed against both parents in the deaths of their daughters.
Located in the nation’s capital, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers. The Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Program began in 1996 and recognizes federal, state, and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
Agent Creteau, along with the other Officer of the Month Award winners for 2013, will be honored at a special awards luncheon in Washington, DC in May 2014 during National Police Week. In addition, their stories of heroism and service will be featured in the Memorial Fund’s annual calendar.