MOAB — When a vehicle crashed head-on into a semitrailer Tuesday on state Route 191, the nearest ambulance was more than 30 minutes away.
“We only have one ambulance station, and we cover 36,000 square miles, so it takes some time,” said Mckay Vowles, the shift supervisor at Grand County Emergency Medical Services. “This particular accident was probably about 35 minutes from our station.”
Their emergency helicopter in Moab was already out on a call, and the next closest helicopter was more than an hour away. Meanwhile, Vowles said the accident scene was becoming critical.
“Very, very graphic, serious accident,” he said. “The vehicle was on fire with this person trapped inside.”
That’s when a handful of bystanders jumped into action: a nurse from Orem, a police officer from Provo and a ski patroller from Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
“They had fire extinguishers and put the car out, then started immediate life-saving care,” Vowles said, noting that the accident victim’s condition was “pretty serious.”
There is no way the victim would have survived without the bystanders’ help, he said. Grand County has tracked down the nurse and officer, but officials only the know the first name of their third hero: Andy.
“Now we’re trying to find this Steamboat Springs ski patroller to tell them thanks for saving this individual’s life,” Vowles said.
He said Grand County EMS is scraping together some money to make up a couple of plaques for the three, and want to include “Andy” in the presentation.
“(We) just want to tell them thanks for stepping up in the heat of the moment, and keep doing it,” Vowles said.
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