FSO Deputy Johnny Reyes exiting CHP helicopter H-40

On the evening of August 14, 2016, California Highway Patrol Helicopter 40 (H-40) was requested by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office to assist with a search and rescue of an ill hiker.

The victim, 66 year old Tara Steele from Santa Rosa, CA, was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) when she became ill Sunday afternoon with what she believed to be signs and symptoms of a possible stroke.  Steele activated her emergency personal locator beacon giving information to her family that she was in need of rescue.  The personal locator beacon gave coordinates indicating that Steele was located along the PCT just east of Brave Lake in Fresno County.   

H-40 (Pilot Officer Riley Dixon and Flight Officer/Paramedic Rusty Hotchkiss) responded to the area with Fresno County Sheriff’s Deputy Johnny Reyes.  The crew located Steele in a heavily forested area.  Using H- 40’s hoist, Deputy Reyes was lowered down to Steele’s location with rescue equipment.  With the assistance of additional hikers in the area, Deputy Reyes prepared Steele for a hoist rescue.  With little daylight remaining, Steele and Deputy Reyes were hoisted safely up to H-40.  Steele was transported to Edison Lake where she was transferred to the EMS helicopter SkyLife 1 for patient care and transport to Community Regional Medical Center, Fresno, CA. 

Johnny Reyes, Bill Dixon, Rusty Hotchkiss


Contact Information

Tony Botti
Public Information Officer
(559) 600-8137