Fire chief honored for saving motorcyclist after crash
Fire chief Jason Moore was on his way home when he saw a man get hit by a car after crashing his motorcycle
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — It was close to 4 a.m. Sunday when the motorcycles passed Jason Moore on the left as he drove on Interstate 75 toward Bloomington. He had returned his son to his mom in South Carolina after a summer visit and was about 300 miles from Bloomington, five hours from home.
He watched as the speeding motorcyclists quickly changed lanes ahead to take Exit 160 toward Jellico, Tennessee. Then he saw them go down onto the pavement and crash in the middle of the interstate. He saw a passing car hit one of the men.
Moore stopped to help, adrenaline and experience kicking in. He’s no stranger to this kind of thing. He was an Air Force firefighter during Operation Enduring Freedom, which took him to Afghanistan, Pakistan and beyond. He made firefighting his career, and moved to Indiana last year to become chief of the Bloomington Fire Department.
In the early morning hours of Sunday, Moore called up his paramedic skills and helped save a life in the middle of a dark interstate. “Lucky for me, a semi came by and pulled his truck across the highway to block traffic,” said Moore. He assessed both victims and determined his most important job was to hold immobile the head and neck of a man who had sustained severe injuries.
He was there alone with the victims for five minutes, maybe as many as 20, before an ambulance with two medics arrived.
People back in Bloomington might not have learned what happened that morning if not for an email Mayor John Hamilton received Thursday afternoon from a paramedic in Campbell County, Tennessee.
“My name is Craig Matherly and I am sending this in reference to an individual who informed me he was a firefighter in your city,” it began, telling the story of what he found when he got to the motorcycle crash.
“I arrived on scene to find two male patients laying in the middle of the interstate. The first patient was determined to be in stable condition with injuries to his hip and shoulder. When I came to evaluate the second patient, there was an individual kneeling at the head and taking cervical spine precautions on an approximately 30-year-old male with obvious major head trauma.”
Moore told Matherly the man was unresponsive but his pulse was strong. His airway was intact, but he was making gurgling noises that indicated blood in his throat. “I questioned the individual as to his qualifications, with the gentleman telling me he was with the fire department in Bloomington and was also an EMT, although he hadn't done much medical in a long time. While I was removing multiple layers of clothing from the patient to continue with detailed assessment of injuries, this gentleman stayed in a motionless position to ensure the patient did not cause further injuries.”
Matherly said the man helped move the patient into an ambulance, where he assisted with emergency measures. When the ambulance was ready to depart to meet a medical helicopter, the man jumped out as it sped away.
“I thanked this gentleman as he was exiting, but due to circumstances, never got his name,” Matherly wrote. “I transported the patient to the landing zone and never saw this gentleman again.”
He wanted to thank Moore. “I am sending this to you in hopes that you may in some way be able to identify this gentleman, and that you would again thank him for me and let him know how much his assistance was appreciated.”
The mayor’s office contacted Moore and asked Moore to find out who the firefighter was. “It was me,” he responded.
Moore said he stopped and did what first responders do every day, on duty and off.
“It’s what any of our men and women here would do, without hesitation,” he said. “For me, it’s not such a big deal. There was no one else there with medical training when it happened. I was lucky to have been there.”
As the ambulance drove away, Moore did not have a good feeling about the man’s chance for survival. Matherly listed the injuries in his message: multiple skull fractures, orbital socket fractures, bleeding on the brain, a pulmonary contusion and multiple cuts and skin abrasions.
Despite the serious injuries, “the patient is supposed to make full recovery,” Matherly wrote.
His message ended with thanks for Moore’s “selfless service” and compassion.
“I hope this gentleman serves you and the citizens of Bloomington, Indiana, the way he did with me, a complete stranger, in the middle of the night, in a place that he was not required to do anything.”
Copyright 2017 Herald Times