Fort Leavenworth Soldiers assist at Texas accident scene
March 25, 2010
- Soldiers were on their way to the Bataan Memorial Death March March 18 when they came across an overturned vehicle near McLean, Texas.
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (March 25, 2010) - Although they tried to save the life of a random stranger for more than two hours, Soldiers from the 500th Military Police Detachment, Special Troops Battalion, were unable to resuscitate the victim of a car accident.
Capt. Heath Jenni, Cpl. Anthony Schienschang, Sgt. Adam Hughes, Cpl. Joseph Locklear, Spc. Adriel Hiraldo-Melendez, Spc. Shawn Thomas and Spc. Anthony Makey were on their way to the Bataan Memorial Death March in White Sands Missle Range, N.M., March 18 when they came across an overturned vehicle near McLean, Texas. A few witnesses at the scene were already calling authorities for help.
Hiraldo-Melendez said Soldiers stopped both of their vehicles in the median and ran across Interstate 40 and historic U.S. Route 66 to help.
Schienschang said witnesses told them they arrived just minutes after the accident occurred. There had been two people in the 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe, a sport utility vehicle, when it rolled more than five times and landed upside down. The driver, a man, was ejected. Another passenger, a woman, was trapped inside. The vehicle was still running with fuel and oil dripping on the ground.
"Captain Jenni took control of the scene and the six of us lifted up the vehicle," Schienschang said.
Jenni was able to crawl under the vehicle and cut the woman's jammed seatbelt with a knife. Locklear climbed inside, shut off the vehicle and removed the keys.
"She was totally unresponsive," Jenni said of the victim. "Everything we had to do had to be done delicately. We had suspicion she had broken ribs, and she was in bad shape, but we still had to try."
Hiraldo-Melendez said the driver, who had been walking around the scene of the accident, tried to give the woman cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but did it incorrectly. The Soldiers said they believed the driver was in shock. Three of them had to restrain the driver off to the side and began looking at his wounds as well.
The Soldiers used their Combat Lifesaver training to administered CPR to the woman. They estimate it was about a half hour before the first emergency responders arrived. The local fire department came with an oxygen mask and bottle to use on the woman. Soldiers continued to administer CPR with assistance from a firefighter.
In another half hour, more emergency responders arrived, followed by local law enforcement. A paramedic put a neck brace on the woman and Hiraldo-Melendez helped insert an IV. The Soldiers helped emergency responders lift the woman onto a litter and load it onto the ambulance.
While at the scene of the accident, Jenni had Soldiers decontaminate, put on latex gloves and check for wounds or punctures from exposed needles left on the ground by paramedics. Later, Soldiers were tested for various bloodborne illnesses, as per protocol.
Schienschang said a local justice of the peace declared the woman dead at the scene of the accident.
According the Amarillo Globe-News, Candice Lee Penns, 34, of Ruston, La., was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver, Rodney Lee Allen, 35, of West Monroe, La., was later charged with one count each of intoxicated manslaughter and driving while intoxicated.
"They did every single thing they could have done to save the woman's life," Jenni said of his Soldiers. "They did everything by SOP, they reacted very diligently. Sometimes it just doesn't work out."