By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor
Office of Public and Employee Communications
Ironwood State Prison Accounting Officer Ana Doyle was returning home from vacation when a car ahead of them crossed the center divider and collided head-on with a big rig near Joshua Tree National Park. Doyle and her husband parked their vehicle, making sure their young children were secure, then raced toward the mangled car.
Mrs. Doyle called 911 while her husband tried to help the victims. The impact of the crash ripped off the car’s roof and crumpled it like an accordion, according to a report of the accident. Four people were in the vehicle – three of them dead from the impact. The driver was suffering from a severe head wound but was still alive.
The big rig spilled an unknown hazardous material on the roadway but the Doyles continued to help.
Mrs. Doyle and her husband tried to assist the driver, who was trapped in the vehicle. When other motorists stopped to help, Mrs. Doyle turned her attention to another vehicle that had stopped. Inside were the parents of one of the accident victims. The parents, trying to make their way to the accident scene, were blocked by Mrs. Doyle. Knowing how disturbing the scene would be for them, she kept them away. Offering ice and water, she kept them calm until emergency crews arrived.
After police, fire and other emergency personnel arrived, the Doyles got in their vehicle and continued the drive home with their young children.
The fourth accident victim later succumbed to his injuries.
“I could only hope such a heroic stranger would be nearby in the event that I or a loved one has such a life-threatening emergency,” said her supervisor, Senior Accounting Officer Sandra Smith.
“The courage and composure that Ana maintained during this event was incredible. Even though the victims did not survive, she tried to save a gravely injured person, then had the presence of mind to comfort the victim’s family members that were arriving on site, and shelter them from the horrific accident scene, hopefully limiting some of the emotional trauma,” said Warden Neil McDowell.