Fontana woman learns firsthand: seat-belt tickets save lives

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A ticket for not wearing a seat belt probably saved the life of a Fontana woman who was involved in a serious rollover just 10 days later. (KABC)

A traffic ticket may have saved Rhonda Lantz's life.

Never a fan of wearing seat belts, the 65-year-old Fontana woman used to only buckle up when she saw a cop cruising nearby.

Then two weeks ago, Officer Luis Valenzuela of the Fontana Police Department spotted her while doing seat belt enforcement and issued a ticket.

After that, she says, she started buckling up.

Sure enough, 10 days later, Lantz was driving on the 10 Freeway when one of her tires lost its tread.

Her steering wheel jerked out of her hand and she lost control, as her truck flipped over three times before landing on its side.

Lantz walked away with just cuts, bruises and fractured ribs.

She knows it could have been far worse.

On Thursday, Lantz got the chance to thank Valenzuela for issuing the ticket and gave him a big hug.

"Thank you so much," she told him. "If it wasn't for you I wouldn't be here today."

Valenzuela says in 12 years with the department, this was the first time he got a hug for writing a ticket.

"Luckily, her decision to wear the seat belt saved her life probably," Valenzuela said.

Related Topics:
traffic accidentFontanaSan Bernardino County
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