Nipomo man honored by Gov. Schwarzenegger for his actions during Hwy. 101 crash

A Nipomo man who works for Caltrans has been honored by the governor for his heroic actions in preventing a serious accident and possible fatalities south of Santa Maria last June.

Brandon Akers received the Governor’s Silver Medal of Valor at a ceremony in Sacramento Dec. 10.

According to the Caltrans account of the incident, Akers was traveling south on Highway 101 at 8:15 a.m. June 18 when he saw a Department of Fish & Game vehicle with a flat tire drift off the highway, then back on at speeds of 55 to 60 miles per hour.

Akers activated his roof top amber lights and, horn blaring, pulled alongside to gain the attention of the driver, who, he saw, was “in some type of physical distress.”

As the Fish & Game vehicle accelerated to 80 miles per hour, Akers used his truck to create a “traffic block” that prevented other vehicles from being hit by the weaving truck.

The Fish and Game truck left Highway 101, hit a large oak tree, and ran through a wire fence. The crash caused two large tree branches to fall onto the highway.

Akers pulled those branches to the shoulder and remained at the site until the California Highway Patrol arrived. He assisted in extricating the driver of the Fish & Game vehicle, and remained at the scene, providing a detailed account of the incident.

“The actions by Akers during this incident were over and above the call of duty and were directly responsible for saving the lives of those traveling on the highway, as well as the Fish and Game employee,” according to Rich Krumholz, Caltrans District 5 director.

Krumholz said Akers’s “extraordinary act of service” went “above and beyond the normal call of duty or service.”

-Bob Cuddy