An Army National Guard medic who was the first on the scene of a violent highway crash in Bowdoinham on Tuesday told the Bangor Daily News that reviving minivan driver Larry Huff was her first “real-world” opportunity to use her military medical training.
Pfc. Lisa Bryant of Scarborough was driving on Interstate 295 in the vicinity of the Bowdoinham crash when it transpired, she said Wednesday. Brittany White, whose brother is engaged to Bryant, reached out to the newspaper Wednesday morning to identify her soon-to-be sister-in-law as the mystery medic referenced in Tuesday’s story about the accident. Bryant had left the accident scene before authorities got her name.
Huff, who was taken by LifeFlight helicopter to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, remained in serious condition Wednesday afternoon, according to a hospital representative.
When Bryant first came upon the 67-year-old Westbrook man, she said, he had just been ejected from the vehicle and was not breathing.
“He wasn’t getting oxygen, so I had to open his airway,” said Bryant, a 21-year-old University of Southern Maine student and part of the National Guard’s 133rd Engineer Battalion based in Gardiner. “He had an obstruction in his airway. I had my supplies with me, so I could get the blood out of his face and his airway so he could breathe.”
Bryant said she has been in the National Guard since May 2011 and has not been deployed overseas. Her abrupt call to duty on I-295 Tuesday represented her first “real-world” application of her military medic training, she said.
“It really was about my training and instincts — but also about my human instincts,” she said. “I really want to help people, that’s why I became a medic to begin with.”
Huff was headed south past the Bowdoinham exit about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday when he attempted to move his van into the passing lane, nearly struck another car and began to lose control of the van, according to police.
The vehicle went off the road and Huff was ejected. The van came to rest about 50 feet from the shoulder of the highway in a stand of trees. A passenger, 32-year-old Haze McDougal of Portland, was taken to an undisclosed hospital nearby with what police described as minor injuries.
By the time Huff was loaded into the helicopter for transportation to the hospital, he was able to speak to responders.
“He was unconscious when I got there, but toward the end, he was actually starting to talk to us and wake up a little bit,” Bryant recalled. “It was awesome to see him go from being unconscious, not talking and blue, to having color back in his face, to talking and breathing.”
She said she hopes Huff pulls through the ordeal and is keeping her eyes on the news for updates.
“I wish I knew how he was doing,” she said.