An off-duty EMT from Yazoo County rescued a woman from a burning car last Wednesday in Pocahontas.
Just before 7 a.m. that morning, Jim White had stopped for a few minutes at the Pocahontas Rest Area when he witnessed the accident between a Sedan and Semi-trailer truck on Hwy 49.
White said from the rest area he could see the truck hauling propane heading south, and he also saw the car quickly approaching the 18-wheeler at a high rate of speed.
The person driving the car jerked the wheel at the last minute, sending the car crashing at an angle into the back of the truck. The impact from the collision sent the back wheels of the truck into the air as it skidded forward and finally stopped about 100 yards away.
The sedan immediately caught fire as a result of the crash after finding a stopping point in the right lane.
All traffic in the area slowed to a stop as other drivers pulled over to assess the situation and call for help. Jim White along with other bystanders quickly ran to the burning car to help the passenger inside.
The driver's side door was partially open as a result of the impact so White and the others had no problem getting to the single passenger inside, a young black female in her early twenties.
"We get to the car and she's slumped over into the passenger's seat, still in the seat belt, unconscious," said White.
White said that he quickly undid the seat belt, pulled the girl from the car, and placed her right there on the pavement. Using his training as an Emergency Medical Technician, or EMT, White knew that he had to stabilize her immediately.
"She had an obvious right hip fracture, and a major laceration on her head, and with her being unconscious I was concerned about her having a broken neck," said White
Once she was finally removed from the car, the young lady regained consciousness, allowing White to start asking her necessary triage questions about her injuries, personal information, and medical history.
Lucky for White, a Pafford Ambulance from Yazoo City was passing through taking a patient to Jackson, and provided him with the equipment he needed to help stabilize the patient. Soon they had the young lady ready to be properly moved a safe distance away from the fire.
"I held her hand the whole time, I advised the medics that she was bleeding internally and possibly had a head injury. She had an altered level of consciousness. She didn't remember what happened," said White.
Once the young lady was sent away in an ambulance, White and the others went to check on the driver of the Semi Truck, who was suffering from pain in his neck and lower back.
Speed and distracted driving may have been causes for this accident.
White, who has over 10 years of experience in the Emergency Medical field both as an Specialized EMT for Noble Drilling and for the Trauma Team at University Medical Center, used his training to help both parties involved in this crash.
White's advice to people who witness or want to help after an accident is to first access if the crash scene is safe before trying to rescue someone.
"Look at what is going on, make sure there are no down power lines, that there's not gas running out everywhere and a fire going. You cant endanger your life to that point to save someone else," he said.
White also mentioned that in most situations, it is best not to move a patient, for risk of worsening their injuries, but if there is a fire, get them out of the vehicle and away from the hazard using any means necessary.