HomeNewsArticle Display

Westover News

Reserve med tech works on way to UTA

WESTOVER AIR RESERVE BASE, Mass. -- When Master Sgt. Holly Crouch saw the car in front of her veering toward the median, she honked her horn, and thought the driver was in trouble.

When she saw the car spin, flip several times and land on its roof in the path of oncoming traffic in the opposite lane, she thought the driver was dead.

But that didn't stop her from calling 911 and sprinting to the car to help. She found the elderly woman alive and hanging from her seat belt with her upper body twisted against the roof. When other bystanders wanted to pull the woman from the mangled vehicle, the 439th Aeromedical Staging Squadron med tech's training kicked in.

"No! I'm an EMT. She might have C-spine compromise," she yelled and then crawled on her belly through the passenger side to help.

Sergeant Crouch stabilized the woman's head with one hand and held her hand with the other. She asked the injured woman to squeeze her hand and then systematically assessed the woman's comprehension, sensory-motor capability, pulse and breathing - while scanning the body for protruding broken bones or bleeding. Sergeant Crouch asked the woman to breathe with her to calm her rising panic, and calmly explained that help was on the way.

Having completed her four-day EMT recertification training during the previous drill weekend, Sergeant Crouch said her reactions were automatic. She kept talking with the woman who said she was on her way to a doctor's appointment.

"The woman asked me to call her doctor to let him know she would be late," the sergeant recalled in unbelief.

Rescue workers jacked up the car and used the jaws of life to extricate the woman from her car. Sergeant Crouch brought the woman's purse to the ambulance and gave a police report to state troopers before she got back on I-88 in Oneonta, N.Y. to head to Westover.

Miraculously, the injured woman, Constance "Maria" Hoyt, sustained only superficial cuts to the face and terrible bruising. In an interview a few weeks later, Ms. Hoyt is thankful - to God for her survival, and to Sergeant Crouch for her assistance.

"I'm so grateful for Holly. She calmed me right down and kept telling me what would happen next, "Ms. Hoyt said. "She's excellent."

Sergeant Crouch was anxious to share her story - and her gratitude - with her EMT recertification instructor at Westover, Master Sgt. Ray Johnson. Although he was not in that weekend, Sergeant Crouch shared her almost-surreal rescue saga with members of her squadron as a tribute to her training.

The special needs teacher and coach has used her military medical training before, but never in such a dramatic scenario.

"I know I saved a life," she later told Col. Robert Sousa, her 439th ASTS commander.
"Thank God the outcome was good," she said.