FF-medic honored for off-duty rescue in Mont. vehicle collision
The firefighter-medic and a nurse both separately stopped to assist the crash victims, all of whom had to be extricated from the vehicles
Lake County Leader, Polson, Mont.
ST. IGNATIUS, Mont. — St. Ignatius Chief of Police Jason Acheson credits two Good Samaritans with helping accident victims after a Saturday collision on Hwy. 93, in front of Allard's Stage Stop.
The accident occurred around 10 a.m. Saturday, when a red Ford F150 pickup stopped at the intersection of Mountain View Dr. and the highway, and then attempted to cross to Allard's. According to Acheson, a black Chevrolet sedan, "traveling south at a high rate of speed broadsided the truck," sending both vehicles into Allard's parking lot. The sedan landed in the parking area and the truck in a nearby drainage ditch.
The occupants of both vehicles had to be extricated with the Jaws of Life.
Four people were involved, and three sustained severe, possibly life-threatening injuries, according to Acheson. One was transported by Life Flight and another by ground ambulance to Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula; and a third was taken by ambulance to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Polson. The fourth person sustained minor injuries.
St. Ignatius Police responded, along with the St. Ignatius Fire Department, to assess, investigate and clear the crash scene for safe travel. They were assisted by the Montana Highway Patrol and the Lake County Sheriff's Department. Three Polson ambulances, in addition to the Life Flight helicopter, also responded.
"What was very unique about this was that an off-duty charge nurse and an off-duty paramedic and firefighter, who don't know each other, each happened to be traveling through," said Acheson. "They stopped and immediately started administering aid to the people involved, which was critical, especially since it can take time for emergency services and law enforcement to arrive on the scene down here."
"It was truly a blessing — I believe their assistance truly made a different in the outcome of this incident," he added. Both had extensive training and experience, "and helped bring order to chaos."
"Without their care and willingness to help, and the willingness of others to get involved, I believe that situation could have turned out worse."
While the accident remains under investigation, video surveillance footage provided by local businesses indicates that speed and inattentive driving may have been factors in the crash. The highway section in front of Allard's is restricted to 45 mph.
As of Tuesday, three of the parties involved are still receiving medical care, Acheson said.
Occupants in the Ford pickup were traveling through from Iowa while those in the rented sedan were from South Carolina.
(c)2023 the Lake County Leader (Polson, Mont.)