By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor
and Lt. Moises Soria, AA/Public Information Officer
Chuckawalla Valley State Prison
A Chuckawalla Valley State Prison employee recently helped save a pregnant woman and a baby from a two-car accident.
Kristina Smith, an associate governmental program analyst, was traveling eastbound on Interstate 10 on Dec. 30 when two cars collided in front of her on the freeway. She also saw what she suspected was an infant car seat flying out of one of the vehicles.
“I immediately grabbed my cell phone and dialed 911,” said Smith. “While I was on the phone with 911, the cars were still rolling.”
She pulled over to assist.
“I was thinking I needed to help these people in the accident,” she said.
Smith ran to the crash where she found a pregnant woman trapped inside one of the vehicles. The woman was yelling for her baby. She and a group of bystanders lifted the vehicle, allowing the woman to be removed.
Trying to keep the woman calm, Smith told her she too was pregnant. The crash victim smiled. At the time of the accident, Smith was two months pregnant but she and her husband hadn’t told anyone at that point.
“When I was helping lift the car, I was worried about the victim’s safety, and did not worry about my own pregnancy,” she said. “I did what was needed to be done, and was happy that there were others available to assist.”
The infant car seat had been thrown about 25 yards from the crash. Face down, but still strapped inside, Smith found an unconscious baby. She held the baby’s hand while a bystander, who happened to be a trauma nurse, performed CPR. Eventually, the infant regained consciousness.
Emergency medical services arrived along with the California Highway Patrol. The victims of the collision were flown by helicopter to hospitals for further treatment.
“I stayed calm until after it was all done (and) then when I got in my car afterward, I broke down,” she said.
According to news reports, there were three people injured and one of the cars had rolled over. Three helicopters landed on the freeway while the CHP closed traffic both ways. The infant was flown to a children’s hospital in Arizona.