Pulled a Family out of a Car Wreck Tonight

P Thought

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Wow! You done good. That's heavy lifting, and your mind and body will have effects to deal with, as you and others have noted. Don't pass that off too lightly.

I hope everyone recovers well.

Angels....
 
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Bob Womack

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Good job! I'm a former fireman so I understand: The adrenaline seems to always show up after the fact in me. During the event I drop into a deep calm and focused state. And yes, you may relive and analyze your participation for a couple of days. No problem, it's a normal thing to do.

I remember an hilarious but serious situation I walked into once while I was off duty. As I walked into a Krystal burger restaurant there was a guy with his car hood open, trying to start the car by shooting carb spray down the carburetor. After I had been in line for a few minutes inside, everyone, and I mean everyone, suddenly turned around and looked out the front windows. The guy had started a fire. There were flames shooting ten feet out of the engine compartment and burning the hood liner and the guy was dancing around trying to figure out what to do. Inside, it was like the Tavern on the Green scene in Ghost Busters. Everyone including the staff stood deadly silent, frozen, staring. I got out of line, walked to the grill, and asked for their ABC fire extinguisher. When it was produced, I walked out to the car, pointed the extinguisher, and shot a good blast. Done. I said, "You'll need to get a tow because there's powder in your carburetor." He said, "Okay." I walked back into the grill inside where everyone was back to chatting as usual, handed them the extinguisher, and said, "You'll need to get this recharged." They looked at me blankly and said, "Okay."

That was it. I ordered, ate, and left, without a word being spoken to me. Hilarious.

Bob
 

raysachs

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You did what we all hope we’d do in a similar situation, but also all hope we never have to find out. I’ve been in one situation, less life threatening than that, where I really needed to act but with a very cool head under what seemed like a lot of pressure at the time. I came through pretty well, but what you just did was orders or magnitude more intense - that family is lucky you were there…

-Ray
 
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Telecastoff1

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Wonderful job Sir to you and your partner! You're both living proof that there is still strong decency and humanity left in this world of ours. That woman and her children will never forget what you did for them.
 

El Serio

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Good work. Most of us know what we should do in an emergency, but not everyone can keep a clear head and do it when the heat is on!
 

grandstick

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When I was a young teen, my sister and I were riding along with our father in his pickup truck. We were in a long row of vehicles coming up a long hill. Suddenly, a Chevy Chevette came blasting past all of us, passing in the No Passing Zone.

Another car appeared in the oncoming lane as it came over the hill. The guy in the Chevette tried to swerve back into our lane, but hit a utility trailer towed by another truck up ahead of us. The Chevette bounce back into the oncoming lane and hit the Buick head-on. The Chevette was tossed into the air like an empty soda can.

My father was a volunteer paramedic/EMT - he, and my mother (a nurse) co-founded our county’s ambulance squad. When everyone stopped their vehicles, he was the first to reach the accident scene. He leaned into the crunched-up Chevette, checked the driver for a pulse, found none and said, “He’s gone.”

He ran to the Buick - which had a teenage driver, with his grandparents in the car. The driver and his grandmother were ambulatory, but the grandfather had been in the front passenger seat - both of his femurs were fractured.

Normally, you would leave them in the car until the rescue squad arrives. But the engine was on fire, and the gas tank had ruptured. Leaking gas was streaming under the burning engine compartment (right out of some action/thriller movie).

I helped my father pull the man out of the car and set him down on the roadside. The driver of the other truck pulled out his fire extinguisher and put out the engine fire. My father did what he could to stabilize the man. The fire trucks and ambulances arrived a few minutes later.

My father gave the police a witness statement, and we got back into the truck and drove off for home.

We read about the accident in the paper that evening. The man was in serious, but stable condition in the local hospital. The kid and grandparents were down from Canada, visiting for the day.

The newspaper report referred to my father as the “mystery man,” as the police did not release his name to the press.
 

Wrighty

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We were on our way home from dinner this evening and were first on the scene of a car that had punched through the guardrail on the interstate up above and nearly made it down the embankment to the surface street we were on. They were about to go over a bridge, so they came down a steep embankment of maybe 30 feet. The car was wedged against a tree with the whole driver's side peeled open like a can opener. The whole driver's side was gone.

I parked and ran over. Airbags were deployed--you can see right in since there were no doors left, but no one in the driver's seat. I then saw the driver laying face down halfway up the embankment. I ran up to her, and another motorist came and extricated a kid in a car seat. I felt for a pulse and was very thankful to see she was still alive. I just started talking to her even though she was unconscious. After a few minutes she began to come out of it, and I just tried to reassure her that we were there to help and her baby was ok. She was compliant, but she kept wanting to get up, and it was all I could do to ask her to stay put till the medics arrive.

As she got more lucid I asked her name, and if there was anyone else in the car. Two kids! We quickly found the other kid, who was probably about five years old. The other guy had the baby, and I had the toddler, and I was just trying to keep both the kid and the mom calm. My partner had called 911, and came over with a blanket that we wrapped around the toddler. I got her to stop crying, but she wouldn't let go of me while I tended to the mother.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity, a police officer arrived. He came over, asked how she got out of the car, and left to direct traffic or something. I couldn't believe it, I sort of thought he'd give me some direction, sort of like, "we can take it from here..." A few minutes later a bunch of fire trucks arrived, and still, I was knee deep in it while they set up. Finally a paramedic came running over and took over from me. He seemed to be the only guy acting with a sense of urgency. But then he sprang up and ran back to the street to wave the ambulance over to us.

I'm sure the elapsed time wasn't as much as it seemed to me. At that point the pros finally took over and we just sort of milled around for a bit. I thought they'd want to ask us questions or something. I remember hugging the other guy who was helping me. He was a young guy and he was shaken up by it all. I told him that he did good finding the kids.

Incredibly, the whole family seemed to be OK. The kids didn't have a scratch on them, thanks to the car seats. I assume the mother wasn't wearing a seatbelt, hence the ejection from the vehicle. I'm sure the airbags saved her life. Also, she was ejected onto wet grass on a steep slope, so she probably slid when she hit the ground which also helped. Other than a small amount of blood from her nose, she didn't seem to have other visible damage. I'm sure there will be internal injuries, but all in all, the three of them came out way better than I would think based on how badly the car was destroyed (Honda CRV).

Sorry for the long story. My adrenalin is still coursing through my body. I was just trying to manage the chaos and not let it get any worse.

When I hear people moaning about being held up in a queue I always remind them that whatever is up ahead is far worse for the people involved than being a tad late for something. As I sit there, I pray for those people and that there’ll be people like you helping them. Thanks for not just leaving it to someone else.
 

tery

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So many people would not have even stopped - you put yourself in harms way to help others ..... I'd like to shake your hand .
 

mad dog

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You did an excellent job.

I've been in that same position twice. Same street in my town. Both times vehicles that had flipped over. First time, a guy fell asleep at the wheel. Hit a tree, went airborne, landed right next to where I was standing. Myself and two other bystanders got him and his wife out of the car, to the side of the road. No serious injuries. Second time, the van in front of me veered into a parked car, bounced off, airborne and flipped. Airbags deployed. I had trouble getting the guy out. Another guy helped and finally he was out. No injuries. That was certainly a cell phone related accident.

In both cases, the adrenaline surge and later exhaustion surprised me. I cannot imagine being a first responder, doing that for a living. Very hard work, and scary. Had there been injuries, it would have been more scary.
 

Fretting out

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That was well done by you two - sadly lots of people do not care and continue driving nowadays.

Right on for the o.p

I Don’t know the story of this particular driver And don’t want to be negative but in a single vehicle crash it’s almost always texting or inebriation/ the drivers fault

And you’re completely right about people driving and not caring, mostly we’ve turned into a ME society, every day I see about 70% of drivers with their phones in their hands

Still great job on the op’s part

Edit: depending on the area could also be deer, as far as single vehicle accidents go
 
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