“He’s not breathing!”
By Lauren Garner
AT&T Insider Staff Writer
"We were driving from a downed cable when a young guy crawled out of a ditch waving his hands at us," said Vincent Nicaud, outside plant technician in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. "We knew we had to stop."
Vincent was in a 3-vehicle caravan with fellow techs Bob Goodman and Matt Harris. Their flaggers' car brought up the rear.
"Bob pulled over and the guy told me his buddy was still trapped in the car," Vincent said. "I looked in the ditch and saw a car upside down. A young girl crawled out of the car saying, 'He's not breathing!'"
Working as a team
"I parked my truck and put flashers on," said Bob. "While Vincent ran down to help the car, I talked to the first young man to see if he needed first aid. I asked our flaggers to call 911, using our truck's GPS to tell them where we were."
"Then the girl climbed out of the ditch and asked, 'Am I going to die?'
"She was having trouble breathing, probably due to broken ribs. Both of the passengers were worried about their friend. I tried to keep them calm and still to prevent further injuries."
When Vincent climbed down to the flipped car, the driver wasn't moving. Our co-worker, Matt, soon joined Vincent to help get the driver out.
"This guy's head was cocked back against the roof with all of his weight on it," Matt said. "It wasn't until Vincent cut his seatbelt and took some weight off of his neck that he finally came to. The victim clearly wasn't aware of what was happening and started to panic."
Vincent and Matt calmed the teenage driver. Matt pulled him out the door.
The young man's face was badly hurt and he was in a daze. Matt and Vincent helped get him up to the roadway with the other passengers. The flaggers were directing traffic.
The techs put a jacket on the shivering girl and Bob offered his phone to call their parents.
"The driver was concerned about getting in trouble for wrecking the car," Bob said. "I said, they would be just worried about you. You're all alive and nothing really serious happened to you."
They learned that the teens had been distracted by a dog in the back seat. The driver never saw the curve and flew off the road. Vincent and Matt went back to search for the dog, but couldn't find it.
All in a day's work
The paramedics and state troopers arrived and thanked Vincent, Matt and Bob for their help. They took the teens to the hospital.
Looking down into the 15-foot-deep ravine afterward made the gravity of the situation sink in.
"No one would have found them if that kid hadn't crawled up," Vincent said. "You couldn't see the car from the road in either direction."
"There were no skid marks on the road or damage from above," Bob added.
"This was definitely a team effort," Matt said. "I am thankful we were driving by at that exact moment."
"We stopped for lunch after the incident," Vincent said. "We just thought, did that really happen?"
As a father of 4, Vincent said, "You hope that someone would do that if they were your kids."
"Vincent told me about everything when he came in that evening," said Mike Davey, their supervisor. "These guys do this a lot. It's commendable. They always think about doing the right thing. They see someone who needs help and they jump right in."