Reporting in for his first week at U.S. Special Operations Command’s headquarters in Tampa, Florida, an Army sergeant major was on the way to work when a woman driving in front of him lost control of her car, hit the guardrail and rolled the vehicle.
“I was on the Crosstown Expressway near downtown Tampa when I saw the car careening off the guardrail and it then rolled twice,” said the sergeant major. “I stopped and discovered a woman in the car and she was bleeding, but still somewhat coherent. She was suspended upside down and hanging by her seatbelt.”
The sergeant major, who has multiple overseas combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, went on to explain that she couldn’t exit the vehicle by herself and was complaining about pain in her shoulder.
“I tried to reassure her as I spoke and told her I was going to cut her seatbelt and that she should raise her hands,” the 27 year Army veteran said. “Her shoulder was causing her pain and I told her we would deal with that once I freed her.”
He then explained he cut her loose from the belt while ensuring she did not precipitously drop and cause further injury.
Once he freed her from the belt, the sergeant major had to push against the guardrail in order to pull the woman away from the vehicle. By that time, he was joined by two other good Samaritans (a crane operator and a 1st lieutenant from the National Guard). They all stayed at the accident scene until paramedics arrived to attend to the injured woman and transport her to the hospital.
“I am glad I could help someone who really needed it and it was a memorable way to start my tour here at the headquarters,” the sergeant major said.
Editor’s note: The sergeant major’s name was not used because of operational sensitivity.