From left are Yvonne Cabrera, Associate Governmental Program Analyst, Chief Nurse Executive Amber Kelley and Office Technician Ashlee Fimbres. Other employees who assisted were unavailable.

By Lt. Edward Sanchez, AA/PIO
California State Prison, Corcoran

A van pool of employees from California State Prison, Corcoran (COR), witnessed a vehicle accident while on their way to work. The van pulled over and the employees jumped into action.

It had just started to rain Sept. 21 when a small sports utility vehicle (SUV) exited Highway 99 too fast and started to fishtail.

Van pool driver Cheryl Mims, Clinical Psychologist, slowed down to give the other vehicle extra distance. That’s when the SUV’s right front tire blew out, causing the vehicle to flip several times. As the vehicle remained roadside, van pool passenger Ashlee Fimbres, Office Technician, called 911 and Mims pulled over.

Health Program Manager I Jennifer Murphy, Associate Governmental Program Analyst Yvonne Cabrera and Chief Nurse Executive Amber Kelley got out of the van to offer assistance.

There was major damage to the vehicle. The back doors would not open and the five people trapped inside were hysterical. They did not speak English so communicating was difficult for CNE Kelley.

However, that did not stop her from administering immediate first-aid. The driver had a large cut to the top of his head. Kelley used the victim’s scarf as a dressing and had him apply pressure while she assessed the other passengers. The driver did not maintain pressure, so Kelley had to grab his hand hoping he understood “hold it.”

The other employees were able to get all the passengers out and away from the vehicle. Meanwhile, other drivers exiting the freeway nearly caused another wreck since there was a blind spot coming off the ramp.

COR employees began directing traffic, motioning cars to slow down, and did so until the ambulance, California Highway Patrol and fire department arrived.

Celia Bell, Health Care Chief Executive Officer, and Michael Sexton, COR Warden, commended the employees for their outstanding efforts and service to the community.

“Amber is a leader and true medical professional. I had no doubts she would take control of the situation,” said CEO Bell.