Sometimes when you follow a similar routine, you forget to really notice things. When you lock the front door, does your mind race to whether you turned the stove/oven/curling iron off? We usually have, but we forget to notice when we unplug or turn off because it’s so rote.
That can happen when we’re preoccupied, too — though leaving a curling iron on a tile sink has less potential for damage than forgetting to put your car in park on a steep driveway.
Best as she can figure, that’s what Dr. Deah Quinlivan did in January. The psychology professor got to her home in Seffner, Florida, and was dragging her empty trash bin up from the street.
When she looked up, her car was just feet from her, having picked up speed rolling down the driveway. It was going to hit her. According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the car “dragged her all the way to the road and eventually ran her over.”
Remembering one of her own social psychology lessons about calling out specific people in emergency situations, Quinlivan began yelling for her neighbor, Josh Boyer, a Hillsborough County sheriff deputy. He heard her, and later said “I heard someone screaming like they were dying outside.”
“I was trying so hard to get out from under it, I was just trying to survive,” she told ABC Action News.
Quinlivan very well could have died if the car had been more to one side. As it was, she was crumpled against the street and curb, and there was blood everywhere.
More neighbors arrived to help and call 911, and Quinlivan was taken to the hospital. Her pelvis had been folded in half, and the doctor said that putting it back together was like solving a puzzle.
“She broke her pelvis, ribs and sacrum and has a significant road rash down her sides,” the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office posted on Feb. 20.
“She yelled for help and Deputy Boyer, who was off-duty, came running. He helped stabalize her and directed care until she got to the hospital.”
“Her Doctors said there is no way she should be alive. Check out the photos for an incredible post surgery X-ray!”
“Another example of the incredible caliber of men and women who fill our ranks.” Boyer has been heralded as a hero in this situation, though he maintains he was just at the right place at the right time.
“Update: I am still in a lot of pain but it is starting to get better,” Quinlivan posted on Facebook on Feb. 17. “I can bend both legs while in bed on my own!!!! I wasn’t able to do that at all.”
Thankfully this professor should be back on her feet and in the classroom again soon.
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