A Murrayville-Woodson Police officer and several motorists are being credited with saving the life of a Murrayville resident following a single-vehicle crash on Route 267.
At approximately 4:42 pm Friday, Murrayville-Woodson Police Officer Patrick McKinnon witnessed a rollover accident on Murrayville Road and US 267. Murrayville-Woodson Chief of Police Derick Suttles says Officer McKinnon was leaving Murrayville to patrol in Woodson when the accident happened right in front of him.
Suttles says as McKinnon was approaching the intersection, a vehicle came off of 267 onto Murrayville Road when due to a higher rate of speed, fishtailed then rolled over at least once before coming to rest in a ditch that was full of water.
“At that point, Patrick [McKinnon] initiated his cruiser’s emergency lighting which also initiates our cameras, in-car and body cameras. Our body cameras are new, we are trialing them right now. They back up thirty seconds from the time they are activated, which captured the entire accident from the time you can see the truck coming down 267 to the time it’s rolled over and coming to a rest.
Patrick exited his squad car and approached the vehicle that was wrecked. The driver inside was still conscious and was actually trying to cut his own seat belt off to exit the vehicle. He could not get it cut off. My officer Patrick McKinnon believed that the seat belt had probably cinched him against the seat therefore, the driver could not keep his head above water because he was tied against the seat and the water began filling the cab of the truck.”
Suttles says Officer McKinnon initially could not get the side window of the truck shattered by both kicking and punching the window. He says that is when passersby began to assist.
“One individual had a crowbar that he provided to Officer McKinnon. Officer McKinnon then shattered the window. Prior to shattering the window, he observed water had filled the cab to the extent that the head and shoulders were completely submerged of the driver. Officer McKinnon stated he saw him become unconscious. Officer McKinnon believed at this point that he had potentially drowned.”
McKinnon crawled into the vehicle and began attempting to pull the driver from out of the truck. Suttles says by that time several passersby had come to assist and helped McKinnon pull the driver out and onto the shoulder. Suttles says at least two of the individuals had medical training and were possibly even nurses and they immediately began performing CPR.
He says the driver was very blue in color and had no pulse when he was pulled from the vehicle. The civilians continued performing CPR and were able to get his pulse back. The driver was then airlifted to a Springfield hospital.
Suttles posted a press release on the Murrayville-Woodson Facebook page detailing what happened and commending all involved with the rescue effort. He says oftentimes in law enforcement, it’s the officer who tends to get all the credit. He says it truly was a team effort on the roadside Friday evening, and he wanted to thank all of those who participated.
“And I wanted to thank those people. I know the majority of them. From watching the body camera footage I know the majority of them that stopped and there was a ton of them. I couldn’t even begin to count, twenty, thirty, forty maybe more people stopped and ran. I saw people physically running to help an officer in need and the man who was trapped inside the vehicle.
Without those folks, there’s no way in my mind that he would have survived. He would have probably drowned and succumbed to injuries on scene. But these folks helped get him out, they helped do CPR. You know that speaks to the community that we live in. It’s a small farm community and rural community and everybody wants to help everybody.”
Suttles says as of last night the driver of the truck remains in the hospital and at last check, he was off of intubation, conscious, and doing well.