Utah Soldier Rescues Injured

Motorist on Nevada Highway

 

Written by Sgt. Scott Faddis

640th Regional Training Institute

Published January 25, 2006

 

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Sgt. Scott Campbell, 640th RTI, assisted in the rescue of a trapped Nevada motorist on I-80 Jan. 22.

Photo by Sgt. Scott Faddis

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 Mathis. 

 

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 training.

 

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 arm steady.

 

Sgt. Campbell speaks at the Midwinter Enlisted Association in Reno shortly before the courageous rescue.

Photo by Sgt. Scott Faddis

Sgt. Campbell speaks at the Midwinter Enlisted Association

 Conference in 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.”