On Monday June 21st 2010 at 1713, I was driving on N. Texas in Fairfield, CA near the intersection of N. Texas and E. Tabor headed towards Travis Blvd. I was following directly behind a maroon colored van in the number two lane going the speed limit at 35 mph. Up ahead there was a parked city bus at the bus stop waiting to load/unload passengers, also in this lane. I started to slow down in order to prepare to change lanes when I noticed the van in front of me was not applying their brakes. Immediately after realizing that the van was not slowing down to come to a stop or make any indication that they would be changing lanes I knew there was going to be an impact between the two vehicles.
I began to slow down even more to increase the space between my vehicle and the van in front of me. The van, still traveling at the speed limit of 35 mph with no signs of slowing down, struck into the back of the parked city bus. The impact was so severe that it caused the back end of the van to jump and landed into the number one lane, which left the van in an angle and partially blocking both lanes. I stopped immediately, parked my vehicle behind the van, and removed my keys. I ran to the driver’s side of the van and noticed a man, maybe in his late 60s, hunched over his middle console with his seatbelt fastened. There was smoke coming from the steering wheel due to the deployment of the air bag. The dashboard was mutilated, the lights above the rear view mirror were dangling, and there was a large amount of liquid pouring out from underneath the vehicle onto the ground.
I started to knock loudly on his window and saying “Sir, Are you okay?” but he was unresponsive. A few pedestrians on the sidewalk to the right of the vehicle started to approach the van and assisted in knocking on the windows and trying to open doors on the van, at which point I directed one of them to call 911. Finally, the gentleman looked over at me and I noticed blood from his lips, possibly from the air bag deployment. I yelled to him to unlock the door repeatedly and he continued to stare at me the first few times. The man was clearly delirious from the impact of the crash. He eventually leaned over and pushed the button that rolled down the window. Once his window was open, I reached in and opened the door.
I looked around the body of the driver for any possible injuries and condition of the interior of the vehicle. Upon investigation, I noticed he was wearing braces on his legs; a wheelchair in the back of the vehicle, the interior dash was still smoking from air bag deployment, and more electronics dangling from wires. There were still large amounts of fluids coming out from underneath the vehicle. At that moment, I made the decision that I needed to remove this gentleman from the vehicle to possibly avoid any further injuries to himself. I asked him if I could remove his seat belt, he said yes. I asked him if I could remove him from the vehicle because of the potential dangers, he said yes. I bent down, put his arm around my neck and lifted him up. I lifted him to the sidewalk which was about 15 feet around the van.
Once I set him on the sidewalk, more people started to gather around. I asked the man if he had identification and he handed me his wallet. I pulled out his driver’s license and asked him to tell me his name and address to see if he could remember. I also asked if he had any medical problems I should know about; I asked if he had diabetes, he said yes. Then I asked him if he had a pacemaker and he replied yes as well. I continued to ask if he was taking any medications and he told me there was a list in his wallet. I handed the driver’s license and the list of medication to the person on the phone with 911, told them to relay to the 911 dispatcher that he was diabetic, and had a pacemaker. I asked an individual who was standing around to see if everyone on the bus was OK. About 30 seconds later, he came back and told the individual on the phone with 911 that there were three people hurt on the bus; one older gentleman, one pregnant woman and one teenage girl.
By that time the first group of paramedics arrived and I briefed them on the condition and medical problems of the driver of the van. I explained that people on the bus required attention as well. I asked the paramedics if they might need my help or any other information and they told me that they wouldn’t but advised me to stay in case the police needed a statement since they had arrived shortly after the paramedics. The police did need my statement and I waited around until the police had time to take it.
After giving the statement I noticed my left wrist, which was already previously injured a month prior and diagnosed by David Grant Medical Center to have multiple problems, was starting to swell up and have pain. After getting back in my car, I noticed my back was very stiff. When I arrived at home and while trying to get out of my car, the left lower side of my back started to spasm and it felt like it pulled. I told my wife that I was going to the ER at David Grant and she told me she would take me there.
I arrived at the DGMC ER at 1915 and noticed that the teenage girl that on the bus and needed medical assistance was there. My wife notified her first sergeant who then called our shirt. The shirt stopped by I was in triage to see how I was doing. The captain that took my vitals in triage asked if my injuries were from the car crash that happened not too long ago and I told him that it was. He informed me that the driver of the van as well as the teenage girl was there for treatment. I then waited in one of the patient rooms for treatment. At 2040, a major came to talk to me about what happened and she told me that she would prescribe me some pain medication for my wrist and back. I inquired about the status of the driver and she informed me that he needed airlift to UC Davis for further treatment due to head trauma. The doctor gave me one shot of Toradol and prescribed me valium and percocet. My discharge paperwork released me to my duty section but limits me to no PT for 7 days.