An Amboy, Washington man was pulled from his burning car after a fiery crash in Brush Prairie on Tuesday, and now he’s thanking some of the good Samaritans who risked their own lives to save his.
“Thank you, I don’t know what else to say,” Scott Jensen told Kim Detter and Hiedi Poulson from his hospital room Wednesday as they met for the first time since the crash.
Jensen had been driving on SR-503 just north of 149th Street on Tuesday afternoon, when he was involved in a violent three-car crash.
“I remember a guy taking a weird angle coming across the lane, so I slowed down and as soon as he crossed into the center divider area, I slammed on my brakes,” Jensen told FOX 12. “He hit the guy in front of me, and bam, it was right here.”
Jensen was hit head-on and his Dodge Durango burst into flames.
Detter had been driving just ahead of Jensen, and narrowly missed being involved in the crash herself.
“I had, just so happened, been looking in my rearview mirror to get over one lane and bang, and cars just flew,” Detter said.
A medical assistant, she grabbed the first-aid kit she always keeps in the car and stopped to help.
Poulson was also driving on SR-503 and came across the crash seconds after it happened. A combat medic with the Oregon Army National Guard, she pulled over and ran toward the burning car.
A man was there, trying to pull Jensen out.
“I just reached inside and [Jensen] looked at me and I grabbed his arm and I just started pulling as hard as I could because the whole thing was in flames and it was going to go at any second,” Poulson recalled. “I can still feel how stuck he was and how hard we were pulling to get him out of that vehicle, and the look on his face and the fear that this thing is going to explode and we’re all going to die.”
She said terror was on Jensen’s face. She helped to pull him out of the car through the rear passenger window – over a car seat they could see in the back.
“We were yelling, ‘Do you have a baby with you? Do you have a baby with you?’ but he couldn’t answer us,” she said.
Once Jensen was out and on the ground, she did a head-to-toe medical assessment of his injuries, aided by Detter and her first-aid kit.
“I just heard this explosion, I felt the heat from it, it was intense,” Poulson said.
They later learned Jensen’s 5-year-old son had not been in the car with him.
Jensen was rushed to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, where he spent the night in the ICU. He has three broken ribs, a lacerated liver, a bruised lung, burns on one side of his body and bruises on the other – but he’s alive.
“I owe you everything, thank you,” he told the women, in tears.
Jensen’s mother and sister were also in tears in the hospital room Wednesday, and hugged each woman, deeply grateful for their help, as well as their medical training.
Jensen’s mother spent 16 years as a nurse at PeaceHealth Southwest and retired last year. Coming to be with her son marks her first return to the hospital since she left.
“To be able to meet him and know he’s going to be OK meant the world to me,” Detter said.
“To see that he’s OK and that he can look at us and talk to us, it makes everything absolutely worth it,” Poulson added. “All the training I’ve done, this is it. This is it. And he’s alive and OK.”
Police said the man who caused the crash, Travis Starks, had been illegally passing when he hit Jensen’s car and a third vehicle. Investigators said the SUV he was driving was stolen and he was high on methamphetamine and marijuana at the time of the crash.
He’s now in jail and is expected in court on Friday.
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