FORT SILL, OKLAHOMA, (May 18, 2021) -- Two Marines from the Marine Corps Cannoneer School here were among at least five people who responded to a three-vehicle accident May 4 in Lawton.
Master Sgt. Anthony Parker was nearby getting his vehicle serviced in preparation for a permanent change of station (PCS) move when he witnessed the accident at the intersection of Quanah Parker Trailway and 82nd Street, according to a write-up provided by the Marine Artillery Detachment here.
Parker ran to the accident scene and made a quick assessment of the first individual who was able to walk away unassisted to a safe distance from the mangled vehicles.
Continuing his survey of the accident scene, Parker smelled gasoline fumes and saw two other passengers inside a vehicle. He gained entry through the sunroof, freed the two passengers, and led them to safety.
When Staff Sgt. Edgar Carachure approached the accident scene he safely parked then directed traffic away from the accident site to free up space for emergency responders. He also assessed the condition of the accident victims and ensured 911 had been called.
“I just set to helping out with everything we get trained on here in the Marine Corps – instinct just kicked in,” said Carachure, an instructor at the cannoneer school.
He said one accident victim was unresponsive and trapped in a vehicle that rolled or flipped over. Another passenger in the wrecked vehicle said a baby was ejected through the sunroof. A second child in a safety car seat was unhurt and safely removed from the vehicle.
Carachure said responders did their best to calm the woman to keep her from going into shock while he searched for the missing infant.
He found the infant lying faceup on the road not making a sound. Assisted by two other responders, the staff sergeant carefully tilted the infant’s head to better open the airway and listened for breathing while a second man did chest compressions. A woman stayed on the phone with a 911 dispatcher who talked the three through how to care for the infant.
Carachure said he didn’t know what happened or who was at fault but that accidents can happen to even the safest drivers, especially when other motorists are involved. He added the accident was a harsh reminder for all drivers to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings, to stay within posted speed limits, and refrain from using cell phones.
“My wife is very careful with our five children. She makes sure everyone is properly buckled in. Before we leave, we double and triple check that everyone is wearing their seatbelts or properly in a car seat,” said Carachure.
Continuing with his day, the noncommissioned officer said he felt a little bit down, but his spirits picked up when he saw his youngest son.
“My little one, he’s my rebel and pretty much does whatever he wants, but after this I thought I definitely need to cherish him more,” said Carachure. “I gave all my children a hug.”
He expressed his thoughts and concerns for all injured in the accident and hoped the baby he helped care for will be all right.
“I hope I did everything I was trained to do to help them,” said Carachure, who added a special thanks to others who stopped. “I’m grateful that other people got out to help as it says a lot about the Lawton community.”
Editor’s note: Parker PCS’d and was unavailable for the interview.