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Off-duty firefighter-medic, nurse credited with saving man’s life

David Hayes and a registered nurse witnessed an impaired driver rear-end another driver, causing his car to flip seven times

By FireRescue1 Staff

BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio — An off-duty firefighter-paramedic and nurse are being credited with saving a man’s life.

Journal News reported that Elliot Feltner was rear-ended by an impaired driver last August. The force of the collision caused his car to flip seven times. The impaired driver was later charged with aggravated vehicular assault, OVI, possession of marijuana, possession of drug abuse instruments and reckless operation.

Firefighter-paramedic David Hayes and a nurse were about 10 cars behind the crash. Hayes, along with a state trooper, ripped the car door open and pulled Feltner out of his car. Hayes thought he was dead; he helped capture the impaired driver who was running from the scene.

After arriving back on scene, the nurse and Hayes started CPR; paramedics and the Ohio State Highway Patrol later arrived. Fourteen months later, Hayes and four others were reunited with Feltner and honored during a banquet.

Feltner suffered a severe brain injury and his cervical vertebra C-6 and C-7 were fractured; he spent 32 days at a hospital and five months in rehabilitation.

“I don’t remember what happened,” Feltner said. “Honestly, it was like you’re living a normal life at 23, then you fall asleep and you wake up and suddenly you don’t know what happened. You are just like, ‘This is what I have to do now. This is what I’m dealing with.’”

Hayes said he “was supposed to be there.”

“We were all supposed to be there,” he said.