Photo by Sgt. Scott
Sgt. Scott Campbell,
640th RTI, assisted in the rescue of a trapped
Nevada motorist on I-80 Jan. 22.
PERSHING COUNTY, Nev. — Soldiers never know when their training will be needed. One
Utah National Guard Soldier was returning home to Utah Jan.
22 from the Midwinter Enlisted Association Conference in
Reno when a situation required his first aid skills.
Sgt. Scott Campbell, 640th Regional Training
Institute, was driving east along Interstate 80 with his wife Ellen
and their young son. As they were coming up over a mountain
about 120 miles east of Reno they came upon an overturned
sport utility vehicle (SUV) in the median.
According to Campbell, when they reached the scene the
elderly driver, Robert Adams, was already out of the
vehicle, looking disoriented and stumbling around.
Immediately Campbell started to evaluate his condition,
which showed the early stages of shock.
Adams explained that he had fallen asleep and that his
51-year-old daughter was still in the vehicle. Campbell and
others who had stopped to help wrapped Adams in a blanket
and turned their attention to Adam’s daughter, Stephanie
Nevada State Trooper Peeples arrived at the scene and asked
if anyone had medical training. Campbell explained that he
was a Soldier in the Utah National Guard and had some
Campbell also told Peeples that Adams was displaying
symptoms of shock and needed to get someplace warm,
preferably a vehicle.
Peeples instructed Campbell to help Mathis as the trooper
led Adams to his vehicle. Peeples then informed Campbell
that due to the remoteness of the location EMTs were still
several minutes away at least.
A former firefighter who had also pulled over to help had
worked his way into the overturned wreck through the rear
driver’s-side door and was attempting to stabilize the
Mathis' head to prevent her from additional injury.
Mathis was lying on the vehicle's ceiling, and her head was
wedged between the door frame and the seat's head rest.
Campbell worked his way through the crushed passenger side
window opening where there was about 15 inches of clearance.
He tried to comfort and reassure Mathis while at the same
time determining the extent of her injuries.
Mathis complained of severe pain in her arm, so Campbell
started to feel his away along her limb to see if he could
find the cause of her pain. Campbell noticed that her arm
had gone through the window and was pinned under the vehicle
as it lay on its roof.
At this point EMTs arrived and used the Jaws of Life to try
to extract Mathis. They put a helmet on Campbell to protect
him in case the SUV rolled.
EMTs slipped an air bag under the car to free her pinned
arm. As they lifted the vehicle Campbell tried to hold her
Photo by Sgt. Scott
speaks at the Midwinter Enlisted Association
Reno shortly before the courageous rescue.
Upon seeing the severity of the injury Campbell immediately
called for a compress to stop the blood flow because she
still was not in a position to be moved.
Campbell wrapped Mathis’ arm with bandages and stayed in the
vehicle with her to stabilize her arm as the EMTs worked to
remove her from the wreckage.
Mathis was rushed to a hospital in Winnemucca and was later
flown to a trauma center in Reno. According to the Nevada
Highway Patrol, she is in stable condition. Adams was
treated for his injuries and released later that evening.
Campbell credits his ability to quickly assess and react to
the situation to his years of Army Common Task Training.
“Two years ago the 640th taught the medical
[common task training] to deploying units every weekend for
two to three months,” he said. “That training and
experience allowed me to know exactly what to do.”