Acts of Kindness in a Critical Incident #GVCopBeat

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BadgeNew-OfficerYesterday, shortly before 3pm, reports of a head-on collision on I-70 began flooding our 911 call center.  Thus far, the investigation into the crash has revealed that a passenger car, driven by an adult male, was going westbound in the eastbound lanes of the interstate, near the 27 Road bridge, when it collided with an SUV, driven by an adult female, with a juvenile female passenger.  All three involved parties were seriously injured.  No arrests have been made at this time, but as the investigation unfolds, charges could be forthcoming.

Those are the facts of this investigation as it stands right now.  Our thoughts are certainly with those who were injured as a result of this scary collision.  However, what we want to do today is acknowledge the incredible acts of kindness and service displayed by people who witnessed this crash and rushed to the aid of the victims.  Below is an email that was sent out by one of the Grand Junction Police Department officers who responded to this crash:

“On 06/20/17 we responded to a head-on collision on I70 near the 27 Road overpass.  It was reported one of the vehicles had ignited.  When I arrived, a male was trapped in a Honda Accord near the median and a Ford sport utility vehicle in the eastbound lanes was fully engulfed.  The fire quickly spread to the adjacent shoulder of the Interstate and began climbing the embankment toward homes on Marsh Lane and Continental Court.

Over a dozen motorists had stopped and extricated an adult female and juvenile (perhaps 5-7 years old) from the SUV and carried the woman to the shoulder of the roadway.  The SUV was emitting loud “booming” and “popping” noises and I believe nearly everyone at the scene thought it could very well explode.  The bystanders placed the female onto a tarp someone had provided and carried her westbound along the highway, away from the vehicle.  Others stood with another tarp elevated over the female to shade her from the sun; temperatures were near 100 degrees.  A nurse who had stopped placed the juvenile in her personal vehicle and remained with the child until EMS arrived.  Had these individuals not acted so immediately and decisively, both the woman and her child would have surely perished.

I was later repositioned to 27 Road to conduct traffic control.  I spoke with two males who had stopped on 27 Road to the north of I70 when they saw the fire on the southern embankment.  The males had climbed numerous fences on the south side of I70 in an attempt to slow the fire and warn residents.  I also spoke with others who had thrown buckets of water on the fire as well as some who used personal extinguishers in attempts to prevent the fire from threatening homes and property.

The overall response from bystanders was, I thought, magnificent.  I regret that I was not able to obtain the names of all of those who provided assistance in this event.  I was hoping, either through social media or mass communication, the Grand Junction Police Department could make an attempt to recognize and thank all of those who rendered their help in any way they could with this incident.”

Additionally, we were made aware this morning that the only possession that made it out of the vehicle with the juvenile female was a pink blanket.  The blanket was wet and dirty from the crash.  It was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital, where the staff there saw to it that is was laundered, so that the little girl could have that small piece of comfort.

We don’t know the names of all of those who stopped to help after this crash.  We don’t know if they were local community members, or simply traveling through.  What we do know is that, without the aid of these brave and selfless people, the outcome of this tragic incident could have been much different.  If this message reaches any of you, please know that you have our gratitude and admiration.

 

27 thoughts on “Acts of Kindness in a Critical Incident #GVCopBeat

    Brian Blosser said:
    June 21, 2017 at 10:02 am

    I work with one the guys that pulled the woman out. His name is Luke Coleman.
    He works at WSI Global.

      Mary Fouts said:
      June 22, 2017 at 7:35 am

      Let him know that what he did was awesome and can inspire so many others to follow his example! Kudoos to him and all of the others who assisted in this incident!

    Jolene Mulumba said:
    June 21, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Way to go, GJ community! So proud of each of these selfless people stepping up to a huge challenge! Prayers go out to those injured – healing and quick recovery.

    Judith Selig said:
    June 21, 2017 at 10:03 am

    I am proud to be a member of this community that we live in! You don’t hear all the good things that people who do good things like this.it touch me dearly to hear that there are still good hearted people out there! I hope you find them they do deserve to be recognized! God bless them all who help saved lives yesterday! Keep safe out in our streets! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    Gabrielle said:
    June 21, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Thanks for posting!

    Sherry Swink, from Moab, and now Colorado Springs said:
    June 21, 2017 at 10:28 am

    My grandkids from Colorado Springs were there and helped also, they were in the silver dodge truck with the large camper,. Their names are Corey and Charlene Vollmering. She is certified in cpr and he is an 8 yr vet from the army. I am so proud that they stopped and helped, she got her fire extinguisher out to help with getting the family out of the SUV. Thank you for recognizing them and the other people that stopped to help

    Ruth Surad-Vodehnal said:
    June 21, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Kudos Grand Jct police and citizens, proud to live here.

    Jaycee Ray said:
    June 21, 2017 at 11:16 am

    The female that took the juvenile into her vehicle is a local nurse named Lindsey Gustafson. Such a sweet and caring individual!

    Jim Watson said:
    June 21, 2017 at 11:16 am

    It’s great to acknowledge the heroic acts of citizens from near and far. The news today doesn’t report enough about what good people do. Each and every one of them are great Americans. It doesn’t get any better than saving lives, especially children’s lives.

    Arlys said:
    June 21, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Wonderful example of the best of humankind. Thanks to all of you!

    Laurie Hogan said:
    June 21, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    This was one of my favorite reads today. Praying for those that were in the accident, but also for special blessings upon those that reacted to save them. Beautiful post.

    Dana Ohlson said:
    June 21, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Police, emergency responders and average citizens at their best. Yeah Western Slope!

    Jackie Holt said:
    June 21, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Wow what an act of LOVE. I’m touched, moved and inspired.

      Linda Thompson said:
      June 21, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Incredible acts of love and blesssings – people like this are on the ready all the time to assist – Blessings galore, people we know and ordinary kind strangers. Kudos to whoever saved the dog as well and took to a shelter. I help the owner knows this and the dog is showered with love and reunited with his/her owner soon. 🙂

    […] A police officer who responded to the crash described the situation in an email released by the department. […]

    momsohardweb said:
    June 21, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    My husband Dylan Mastrud was the gentleman that extracted the little girl and her mother from their burning car. I was the first one to call 912, we were traveling westbound and saw the accident. We hope everyone is able to make a full recovery from this horrible accident.

    Cynthia Mastrud, Dylan's mother said:
    June 21, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Dylan Mastrud, Rifle, pulled the child and the woman from the vehicle after breaking the window out of the car to get to them. He left his name with police. Dylan’s wife, Alysa, called 911 and stayed in their own vehicle with their two children.

    Jodi Gallegos said:
    June 21, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    My property was one of those that the fire reached. Our fence & some trees were destroyed. Thanks to the GJFD and the strangers who responded the damage was limited to that.

    I do have the name & phone numbers of 2 young men who helped spray my fence & trees while I evacuated my kids & dogs. I’d be happy to provide that to the GJPD if you’d like. They certainly went above & beyond. They even offered to help rebuild our fence!

    angie devereaux said:
    June 21, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    You know I was thinking this very morning what would make America great again. I thought: “if all of us would love our higher power and if all of us would just follow the rules with a happy heart. That would make America Great Again. I was headed west on I-70 this morning. See how Great America is doing. Thanks to one and all. You did you jobs perfect.

    Debi Curtis said:
    June 21, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Absolutely fantastic. Prayers for the injured. Prayers for all those heroes that helped. GOD bless.

    Jesse barger said:
    June 21, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    No thanks is needed I held a tarp over her tell ems got there. We are a great community and a great country to help people that need help is are responsibility in order to keep are community great thank you to all police ems and fire

    Peter said:
    June 22, 2017 at 1:02 am

    I know one of the idividuals involved in the rescue, I will make sure to make them aware of this report.

    Robert Glatter said:
    June 22, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    One of my daughters found this piece so I am answering your request. I was a passenger in the Arrow Stagelines tour bus returning from a float trip on the Colorado River that narrowly avoided being involved in this terrible accident. We were only spared because of the excellent defensive driving of Calvin Graves, the Arrow driver who slowed and stopped us on the shoulder. Unfortunately the young woman and her daughter in their SUV passed us and immediately were hit almost head on by the other driver.

    Calvin, my fellow passenger, an Air Force Viet Nam veteran, Frank Derrickson of Raleigh, NC and myself, a Navy Seabee Viet Nam veteran, Bob Glatter of Manlius, NY rushed out to help the driver and passenger of the SUV which was already on fire. A tall, fit young man who said he was an EMT and fire captain had pulled a young female child out and handed her off to a nurse. He tried to break windows and rip open doors with whatever tools he had but was unsuccessful at first The three of us from the bus were without tools and could not do better than try to assist him and another young man who were eventually able to break windows. The man who rescued the girl finally freed the woman and ran with her to the slight knoll. The car fire was growing and several young men emptied their fire extinguishers into the engine compartment giving the others more time. She was badly injured and had been badly injured previously as had her daughter. I spent a considerable amount of time alone with her while the EMT/Fire Captain aided her daughter and checked the other driver. I will never forget a second of this.

    The credit for saving this young woman and her daughter goes to the off duty EMT/Captain who refused to give up and attacked the car repeatedly with the second man until she was freed. The explosions that started and consumed the SUV also started a spreading brush fire that endangered everyone who was blocked behind the brush fire. This was a day full of danger. All of these young men and women who raced forward in the face of a vehicle on fire that started to explode almost immediately after the woman was freed says an awful lot about who you people are in Western Colorado. As terrible as this day was I am honored to have been with all of you that day. That little girl and her mother would not have survived without you.

    As the SUV burned and was near exploding I feared that the young mother would not be rescued in time. For the last 18 years I have carried a RescueMe auto glass breaker on my key chain but left it home because I thought that I wouldn’t need it on a bus trip or to rescue someone else but I did need it. They sell for less than $10. Everyone buy one for yourself and for each driver in your family. And never leave it home.

    Robert Sink said:
    June 26, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    Ladder 6 Capt./Paramedic Jesse Donohue with the Eugene Springfield Fire Dept. Was one of two individuals who pulled the woman from her burning vehicle and provided aid to the injured individuals.

    lindaburt43 said:
    June 27, 2017 at 11:46 am

    The paramedic/firefighter is Jesse Donohue from Eugene, OR. He is a member of the Springfield/Eugene Fire Department. He and his family were on vacation.

    Frank Derrickson said:
    July 4, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Our tour bus was returning to Grand Junction when our bus driver suddenly pulled over to the emergency lane from the passing lane. Heard him say “it’s going to happen. Spotted a wrong way car coming towards us. At the same time, an SUV passed the bus – the resultant head on collision was sudden & explosive. The driver of the bus & several of us departed the bus & went up to help. First thing I noted was Mr. Donohue carrying a young girl from the SUV & handing it off to the young lady (nurse). He then went back to the SUV & attempted to get the mother out who was trapped in the drivers seat. Several individuals used small fire extinguishers to smother the fire from under the hood. How he eventually got the woman out I’ll never know. He pulled one door so hard that the handle came off in his hand. Words can not truly describe his heroism. I would also commend everyone who helped the individuals in the SUV – the fire started slowly but continued to increase in intensity. Once removed the woman was placed on the side of the road & later moved by many individuals to get her away from a grass fire. They were careful & compassionate toward her well being. All of this occurred before fire & rescue were able to arrive. Many young people assisted in the rescue of the two women. I was thoroughly impressed at how everyone chipped in to help however they could. I will never know there names but they deserve my heart felt respect. Thank You !!!

    Frank Derrickson said:
    July 4, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    It appears I gave the wrong name to the individual who pulled the women out of the SUV – my apology to the young man who was the hero. He deserves all the recognition we can give to him.

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