BETA Lab’s Gartley Assists Car Accident Victims

January 26, 2018

Helping people in critical, life-threatening situations comes naturally to Eric Gartley, BETA Lab technician, Fire & Safety Services.

A volunteer firefighter for the past 19 years, Eric is no stranger to emergencies. In the past two years, by chance, he’s been a bystander-turned-first responder in several emergency situations that include performing CPR to successfully revive a 10-year-old girl in cardiac arrest at a local park and, most recently, assisting victims of a serious car accident that occurred Dec. 12 on a Shippingport, Pa. bridge.

Eric, who regularly teaches company training on fire safety and CPR/Automated External Defibrillator skills, was driving to the Bruce Mansfield Plant after lunch when he saw the aftermath of the vehicle crash.

“As I approached, I noticed a white Chevrolet Cavalier facing the wrong direction at the end of the bridge,” said Eric. “Next to the car was a large, tri-axel dump truck. The car had very heavy damage on the passenger side and the truck had front bumper damage.”

The road was snow-covered and slick, so Eric carefully drove past the crash and parked behind the dump truck with his hazard lights activated. Wearing his personal protective equipment, he approached the vehicles. When he saw the truck driver was uninjured and had already called 9-1-1, Eric went to the car to check on its occupants.

“Due to the impact on the passenger side, all the windows were blown out of the vehicle and the passenger was wedged between the steering wheel and the driver,” recalled Eric. “I began to assess the occupants and found the passenger unresponsive and the driver dazed.”

Eric advised the truck driver to tell 9-1-1 to expedite an ambulance due to the severity of the injuries. After further assessment, he determined the passenger was fatally injured. At that point, he turned his focus to the driver, keeping her calm to prevent shock.

“I just talked to her and constantly kept her focus redirected on me as a distraction, which seemed to work,” explained Eric. “She had suffered a head trauma and other injuries. I monitored her and moved her seat back a bit to allow more breathing room.”

When the ambulance arrived, he helped paramedics remove the driver from the car and place her on a stretcher. He then provided his information to the police and returned to work.

“Eric is very knowledgeable and calm in emergency situations due to his work in fire safety and firefighting background,” said Brad Bell, Eric’s supervisor at BETA Lab. “This isn’t the first time he’s assisted victims of a car accident while going about his normal routine outside the line of duty.”

Eric just considers it a blessing he was there: “I never like to witness any accident occur, but am always going to respond and help in any way I can.”