Above the Call: Ironwood State Prison employee helps rescue crash victim

By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor

A driver trapped in a vehicle hidden from view down an embankment has a sharp-eyed Correctional Counselor to thank for a positive outcome.

At about 5 a.m. on Aug. 23, 2016, Ironwood State Prison Correctional Counselor Nicholas Wilder was on his way to work when he saw a vehicle go off the road on Highway 10.

Nicholas Wilder

Nicholas Wilder

“The car rolled a couple times down an embankment and luckily I happened to see the headlights before they shut off. I pulled over and immediately ran down toward the vehicle and in the process slid down the embankment,” he said. “I could not see inside of the vehicle because of the dust.  I had to open the driver’s side door because the passenger side was badly damaged.”

He said the elderly driver was not conscious but the noise of opening the door woke her.

“As I opened the door, it made a loud pop sound and it startled her and she started screaming,” Wilder said. “I noticed her left arm was broken and had her hold her arm close to her body with her other arm to stabilize it. (There was also) blood coming down her face so I advised her to lay her head back against the headrest and told her I was going to call 911.”

After speaking to CHP and giving them the location, they transferred the call to the fire department.

“(They) advised me to turn on the emergency hazards from her vehicle because of the description I gave them of the location it might be hard to see from the highway. With their direction, I (searched) the area for other victims in case they were ejected from the vehicle. I gave dispatch a description of the injuries and they told me to call back if her conditioned worsened,” he said.

About 20 minutes later, Wilder could see the fire department looking for them using a spotlight.

“While we were waiting I kept her calm by talking to her and reassuring her she’s fine to stay calm and help was coming. We were even joking how her son was going to be mad (because) that was a brand new vehicle,” Wilder said. “Once fire arrived, I stayed to give the CHP officers a brief report. Fire told me good thing I happened to see the accident because they had a hard time seeing the vehicle because of the brush and that in that area vehicles can go unnoticed for long periods of time.”



11 Responses

  1. S. Moss Thursday, November 3, 2016 / 10:05 am

    It was destined that you should be on that road, at that time, to save that woman’s life. God is good….Thank you for your act of kindness in assisting this woman in need of your help.

  2. John S Thursday, October 13, 2016 / 3:05 pm

    I was hit by a van going about 55 while I was stopped and turning left. That type of kinetic force is otherworldly – I was knocked out of both shoes and one sock as i sustained a 7-break compound fracture below the knee, and was launched into oncoming traffic. I never lost consciousness – and remember the headlights of a car screeching to a halt several feet from my face – out of which, jumped a military man in fatigues. He covered me with a green army blanket from his truck, popped flares, directed traffic around my position, and kept other “samaritans” from moving me. All the while, calmly talking to me through shock until the first-responders arrived. He made a horrible situation a little better – if not saving my life. Nobody knows how one can react in a situation like that. Some panic and freeze or run. – others run toward the melee. Had he of drove on, I wouldn’t blame him at all – but I certainly am grateful that he didn’t.
    I won’t ever forget that guy, ever.
    This lady will not forget you either. Good on you man!

  3. Krystal Davis Monday, October 10, 2016 / 9:49 am

    You are certainly an Angel sent to help a woman in distress. It is wonderful to have caring people like you in the Department.

  4. Jose Sanchez Friday, October 7, 2016 / 2:00 pm

    God put you there at the right place at the right time to save a life.

  5. Chikodi B. Okoro Friday, October 7, 2016 / 11:53 am

    Thank you for this great deed. You are an angel sent by God. He will surely protect, bless and reward you & your family. What a sharp difference between love/compassion and today’s “politics of hate/lack of compassion!” Bless you. Chika

  6. Suzee Garcia Friday, October 7, 2016 / 10:28 am

    Blessings all around. Such a remarkable story. You are definitely a walking angel that showed such bravery and compassion. Hero indeed!

  7. S. Tyler Friday, October 7, 2016 / 10:15 am

    God bless you.

  8. Shara Gonzalez Friday, October 7, 2016 / 9:57 am

    It’s people like you, with your heroism and integrity, that make me proud to be part of CDCR. Well done. Thank you.

  9. Brian L Paul Friday, October 7, 2016 / 9:21 am

    She was very fortunate you came along, were observant, and took action. It’s wonderful to hear stories like this. With all the madness that goes on today; it is nice to hear about good deeds and people like yourself. Great job!

  10. Patricia Mora Friday, October 7, 2016 / 9:15 am

    Thank God you happened to be passing through. She is indeed a lucky lady. I am so glad that you were able to be there for her. Good job! Thank you for being a hero as far as I’m concerned.

  11. Anita Ford Friday, October 7, 2016 / 9:03 am

    Wow, talk about being in the right place at the right time! She is certainly one lucky lady. How fortunate for her that you were there or the outcome could have turned out not so good for her. Thank you for helping her in her time of need.

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