WHEELING, W.Va. – Outside of maintaining and improving the electric grid, our front-line employees see it all in the field: countless critters, devastation following a storm, Thank You messages from customers and so much more. Add in the amount of driving our crews do, and we know our field personnel see the good and the bad on the road, too.
Line workers Tyler Clutter and Jared Straub had a scary dose of the bad on June 25.
After nearly nine hours of driving from East Texas back to Wheeling after helping Southwestern Electric Power Co. restore power, they were ready to check into their hotel in Nashville, Tenn.
The two noticed a motorcyclist entering the highway erratically. After swerving his bike over multiple lanes, the driver lost control, hit a concrete wall and was launched 30 feet from the point of impact.
“We pulled over, Jared called 9-1-1, and I went to help the guy lying on the ground nearly unconscious,” Clutter said. “I kept trying to keep him awake because he was dozing off.”
While waiting on emergency services to arrive, Clutter and Straub secured the scene.
Clutter recalls holding the motorist’s bleeding, trembling hand, letting him know someone was with him and help was coming.
“At one point, I thought he was going to die. I told him to look me in the eyes, stare at me and think of something happy. I did what I could so he wouldn’t worsen his anxiety.”
About 25 minutes later, an ambulance arrived. The motorist was air-lifted to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries.
When Clutter and Straub finished up the police report, the officers thanked them both for keeping the man alive until emergency personnel were there. Clutter and Straub attribute their ability to help the man to their annual First Aid training in Wheeling.
“I’ve never experienced anything like that before, but it was second nature for Jared and me to pull over,” said Clutter. “We couldn’t leave someone like that.”
Although the two do not know the outcome of the man's condition, Clutter said that the accident opened his eyes to how quickly things can happen on the road.
“I’m glad we were there because you don’t know what other people would have done – they might have just driven by.”