Teamwork saves life

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
When a motorcycle accident happened right in front of them last week, Missie Peaden (left) and Jacklyn Timmons (right) were both thankful they had the first aid/disaster training needed, and they were able to help.

OKEECHOBEE — Several local people worked together last week to save not only the leg but, possibly, the life of a local man after a motorcycle accident left him severely injured. Jacklyn Timmons was first on the scene, because the accident happened right in front of her home. She said she had just walked out her front door when the accident occurred and at first, she thought it was her husband, because he rides a black Harley. She ran to the man and tried to help him, asking bystanders to tear up a T-shirt so she could tie up his leg, which was very badly injured. That was when school bus driver Missie Peaden arrived on the scene and saw what was going on.

It was Mrs. Peaden’s last stop of the day, and she let the kids off, then called in to let the bus garage know what was going on and that she was going to help, because there were no emergency medical personnel there yet, and “there was a lot of blood,” she said. She grabbed everything she thought she could use off the bus, towels and things like that, and went to see what she could do.

The man had a very bad leg injury, she explained. “I’m surprised he didn’t lose it. Really, he had two major injuries from his knee down.” She put a tourniquet on, which she made from an Ace bandage and a stick someone handed her. There were a lot of people around, and they were trying to stop traffic. There was a lot of confusion, because it had just happened.

Mrs. Timmons called 911 and was the one who ran to get towels and supplies, “things we were going to need,” said Mrs. Peaden. The two women managed to get the tourniquet on and keep it from coming unwrapped, because they had no way to tie it, they said. They just did their best to wrap his leg, clean the blood and keep everything clean until EMS could get there. “We also wanted to cover it up so it wouldn’t be seen by everyone passing by,” said Mrs. Timmons. He had a small head injury, so they fixed that as best they could and tried to get it up off the asphalt and keep it clean. “There were other people who helped, too, but I don’t know their names,” said Mrs. Peaden. “Every time we would ask for something, it would just appear.”

The injured motorcyclist was very worried about some of his personal belongings, and Mrs. Timmons was able to find one of the things he was worried about and keep it safe for him. Another neighbor held his hand the entire time and told him he would be OK, trying to keep him calm. She called his wife for him to let her know what had happened.

Mrs. Timmons said she has had first responder training because she worked at the jail and the prison, and she believes that helped her keep a cool head. “I honestly think we were meant to be there at that time.”

Mrs. Peaden said all Okeechobee County school bus drivers are required to take training for emergencies of this type every year. They want their bus drivers to be prepared for any emergency, she explained. They take classes like “Stop the Bleed.” As they take these classes, she said sirens blare and lights flash, anything to take your attention away from what you are doing, to make sure when the time comes, you can concentrate on what you are doing.

“Yeah, I put a tourniquet on, and I want to believe it probably kept him from bleeding out. I don’t really know for sure, but there are a lot of people who deserve credit for jumping in to help out. Paramedics and firefighters do this every day. They are the heroes, not me. I just want people to be aware that bus drivers are trained in a lot of stuff people do not realize, and we put a lot of pride in it.”

Mrs. Peaden also said she recommends everyone get some type of first aid training so in an emergency, you are not the one running around not knowing what to do and feeling helpless. “If you don’t like blood, you can find something else to do. Be the one who holds someone’s hand. Make a phone call. Help with CPR.”

She went to the hospital later to check on the man who was injured and said he was doing well. The doctors were able to save his leg. “I have a feeling he will even be back on a motorcycle eventually,” she said.

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