A car accident in Meansville, Georgia, could have ended in tragedy, but it didn’t. Thanks to one retired rescue worker, a woman’s life was saved. But the cost for this one kind man was the loss of his freedom.
Rick Rickerson, a Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief and 30-year veteran, already understood the idea of bravery. When he was driving down the highway on a clear Georgia day, he never expected that his years of training and service would be called into play.
Suddenly, the car in front of him fishtailed and was thrown into the air, rolling end over end until it came to a stop on its wheels. Rickerson wasted no time. He parked his car on the shoulder of the road and went to help the crash victim.
“My training pretty much kicked in as soon as I witnessed the wreck,” said Rickerson. As he approached the car, he saw a woman, Rebecca Buchannan, hunched over the seat, unconscious.
Three other good Samaritans came to help as Rickerson tried to open the car door. It had jammed shut from the crash. Time was of the essence as Rickerson noticed that the driver was not breathing.
He immediately dialed 911 and began to inform the dispatcher that he is a retired firefighter. He explained the gravity of the situation saying, “There is entrapment. The doors will not open. The doors will not open.“
With the help of the other three at the scene, they managed to pry open the car door and pull Buchannan out, but her airway was filled with blood.
The situation looked grim, but Rickerson remained calm as he continued to talk to the 911 dispatcher and work on Buchannan.
Rickerson cleared Buchannan’s airways several times while administering live-saving breaths. The other bystanders held her head and shoulders.
Then Rickerson heard another voice, that of Georgia State Patrol trooper, Sgt. Rodney Jeter who had arrived on the scene.
“Whose truck is this?” asked Jeter, referring to Rickerson’s vehicle parked on the shoulder. Rickerson replied that it was his. Jeter then asked him to move the vehicle.
It seemed unbelievable that Jeter was concerned about where a car was parked when a woman’s life hung in the balance. Rickerson refused to leave Buchannan’s side and continued to give CPR.
The conflict between Rickerson and Jeter continued as Rickerson was asked three times to move his vehicle and he refused. Finally, a bystander moved the car but the damage was done. As rescue workers arrived Jeter walked over to Rickerson and put him under arrest.
A dramatic video captures the scene and arrest, as both Rickerson and Jeter continued to argue. It is clear that tensions are high due to this stressful situation.
But Buchannan survived and she knows that Rickerson is a true hero. Though she sustained a broken arm and cannot move her legs, he saved her life. Buchannan says that she feels blessed that Rickerson was there.
Rickerson was arrested and was soon out on bail but he is fighting the charges. “If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change anything,” he said. “I would still take care of that patient.”
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