As much as we talk about how safety is our number one priority at DOT, there is no proof quite as dramatic as the two DOT employees who rescued a pedestrian last week after he was struck by a car while crossing an intersection.
The two DOT'ers, Donna Sampson of our Public Affairs office and Pat Oladeinde of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, were on their daily lunch-time health walk near our headquarters building. As they approached the intersection of 11th and M Streets SE, a man in the crosswalk was hit and tossed into the air by a car accelerating through the intersection.
Donna remembers thinking as she stood there, stunned by the scene unfolding, "Huh. I didn't know a person could fly that high. That can't be right."
And, in fact, it wasn't right at all. The man landed far up the hood of the vehicle with his elbow smashing the windshield.
"He was bleeding pretty badly from that arm," says Donna. "And even though he got right up, he was sort of standing there, dazed. He must have been in shock."
Pat grabbed a baby's t-shirt from the stroller of a woman standing next to them. She sat the man down and fashioned a crude tourniquet to staunch the bleeding from his arm. Meanwhile, Donna dialed 9-1-1.
"I've had CPR and other emergency training here at DOT," says Pat. "I knew right away the baby's t-shirt wasn't working and we needed something larger to wrap around that arm. The baby's mom offered a blanket, and that did the trick."
Soon, an ambulance and fire truck arrived, and paramedics took over the victim's care.
"What shocked me most," Donna recalls, "is that the cars behind the one that hit him just kept going. They went right around her car as if it was the most common thing in the world. I mean, as if a man wasn't just hit by a car, flung into the air, and laying there all stretched across her hood and bleeding like crazy."
Well, I'm glad to know that's not the DOT way. When it comes to pedestrian safety, we're not just talking the talk; we're walking the walk and taking public service to the next level.
Thank you, Pat and Donna, for representing DOT at its best.