ANNVILLE, Pa. –
Three Army Reserve Soldiers, with Phoenix’s 492nd Civil Affairs Battalion, were participating in an exercise at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, when after the days training they came upon an auto accident.
“It was Sept. 30 and we were driving on Interstate 81 returning to our hotel rooms when a car drifted off of the southbound lane into the northbound lane hitting a tractor-trailer,” said Capt. John King. “A third vehicle hit the truck when the accident occurred.”
The three Soldiers pulled their car over and ran to the scene splitting up to assess those involved.
“I ran to the truck and saw fluids running off,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Bradley. “Once I established he didn’t have any serious injuries I helped him get away from the scene. I was concerned that something could catch on fire. He was very confused.”
After Bradley got the truck driver away from the vehicle he recognized the need for traffic control and started moving back unnecessary personnel and bystanders that were panicking.
“I wanted to make sure things were clear for emergency responders to get to the scene,” said Bradley.
Staff Sgt. Jonathan Harper rushed to the third car involved in the crash.
“It was a Mini Cooper and he seemed to be uninjured but I made sure he was away from any hazards and then I proceeded to the white SUV that was the most damaged to see if I could help,” said Harper.
King was the first to approach the white SUV and found the heavily damaged vehicle with fully deployed airbags.
“You could tell that he was seriously injured and I kept checking for responsiveness,” said King. “Harper came over to help me with him. He was nonresponsive and we just kept encouraging him and reassuring him.”
An off duty firefighter and a pediatrician also came to the white SUV and began to join in efforts to safely remove the man from his vehicle.
“We all worked together to get him out of the vehicle safely and had concern about his neck being injured,” said King. “Once he was on the ground I covered him with my uniform blouse and held his hand providing words of encouragement.”
The firefighter and pediatrician along with Harper began chest compressions.
“EMTs [Emergency Medical Technicians] arrived on scene and began life saving efforts with defibrillation and a needle decompression,” said King. “He was then transported from the scene in critical condition.”
King said he doesn’t know the status of the man at this time but he did call the local hospital he was transferred to but they declined to comment.
“We were all glad to help out in a very challenging environment. Our experiences and training as Soldiers definitely kicked in,” said King. “It is certainly something that none of us will ever forget. I prayed for him then, and I do now.”