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Officer Salvaggio, although we worked for the same police department I never met you. We may have passed each other some where without having the need to talk. Perhaps at the busy Courthouses or the busy central jail. If we did I wouldn't have known that I had just seen the man I would one day want to thank for making the sacrifice that would save my life. The circumstances surrounding your death made such an impression on me that every time I made a traffic stop (and there were many as I worked Accident Division), I made certain that I could watch both the violator and the approaching traffic, and that I knew what my escape options were should the need arise to take evasive action. In January of 1995, at 1:00 am I had stopped a compact car on the North Freeway, whose driver decided that it would be safe to pullover and stop on the overpass, over Mt Houston. With you in mind, I made my assessment and decided the safest option would be to write the citation while I sat in my patrol car and the violator sitting in his. I had barely written part of the violator's name, when everything went black. The story is long, but the short of it is, that both of us (violator and I) would have been killed if I had stayed outside and wrote the ticket, like I usually would have. If I had placed the violator in the rear seat, he would have been killed, as there was nothing left after the drunk driver, in a 1 ton plumbing truck, plowed into the my police car at 70 mph. And it turned out to be a Hit and Run as well.
In '98 or '99 I had the opportunity to drive one of the vans transporting survivors of HPD officers killed in the line of duty. Before leaving the HPOA building where everyone had met to catch the van to the HPD Memorial, a beautiful young lady was pointed out to me and I was told that she was the daughter of Officer John Salvaggio. I felt compelled to let her know how grateful I was to you and that your sacrifice was not in vain. She told me that at the time of your tragic accident, she was about the same age my oldest daughter was (13) when my near death experience occurred.
John, my brother in blue, I and my children are eternally grateful to you and your family. Rest In Peace.
Ret. Police Officer Abel Rodriguez
Houston Police Department
October 13, 2015