OAK HARBOR, Wash. - It was a chance discovery, on a rural road, in the middle of the night.
Deputy Robert Mirabal was driving north on Highway 525 around 2:30 a.m. Sunday when he spotted something "dressed in all black."
He pulled over, and discovered a woman, bruised and beaten.
"She had blood all over her face, and her arm was up against her," he said.
Mirabal knew, from his time as a Oak Harbor volunteer firefighter and EMT, that the woman needed immediate help. She was woozy, and didn't want to say what happened.
The Deputy plead with her to seek help. She initially refused, but finally relented and accepted a trip to Whidbey General. Doctors discovered the 51-year-old woman had a subarachnoid hematoma, bleeding near the brain which, if not discovered early, could have killed her.
"She probably would have died overnight," says Mirabal.
She's now in satisfactory condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to authorities.
It may also not have turned out the same way, if the same thing happened about a week later.
That's because Mirabal is scheduled to lose his badge on Sunday, the victim of county budget cuts. Commissioners eliminated the position last December, and the six-month-veteran was considered the lowered tenured Deputy and was therefore, laid off.
"Makes me feel good to know I did something for someone," says Mirabal, who seems to be taking the layoff in stride. He says he'll be able to survive for a while by the stipends he gets for his fire and EMT work. He also says he thinks he made his mark on the department.
"I figure I go out doing something for the county, for the people of the county," he said.
The man authorities suspect of inflicting the injuries was arrested, and is booked into the Island County Jail on $50,000 bail. He could appear in court as early as tomorrow to face an assault charge.