Two women were given high honors by The Missouri State Highway Patrol for their efforts in saving a woman from a car wreck on Jan. 23. Katherine Deluca and Erin Harlan, both of St. James, were awarded the Honorary Trooper Certificate on Friday, April 13.
At the event, Corporal Jeremy R. McCurdy described how he was dispatched to the westbound portion of I-44, near the 195 mile marker, in response to a motor vehicle crash with unknown injuries.
“I responded from St. James and arrived on scene in within a minute,” he said. “I observed a tractor trailer with a flatbed trailer attached, and a passenger vehicle partially underneath the trailer.” McCurdy said both vehicles had come to rest in the median.
After exiting his vehicle, McCurdy said he began placing road flares and cones for safety, and shut down the left lane.
“As I was placing my traffic cones, a male subject who had stopped to help approached me and informed me that a female was inside the passenger vehicle and was in bad shape.” McCurdy radioed Troop I and informed them that this was an injury crash.
According to him, McCurdy made his way to the vehicle and observed two people he described as “good Samaritans,” who were rendering first aid to the injured driver, later identified as Jaclyn L. Thompson.
One of these Samaritans was identified as Katherine H. Deluca, of St. James, and was leaning across the front passenger seat while applying pressure to the driver’s head with a “makeshift dressing.”
“Mrs. Deluca informed me she was a nurse, and stated the female driver was breathing, but was in bad shape,” McCurdy said. “I observed the driver was bleeding profusely from her head and was in and out of consciousness.” Deluca confirmed the driver’s injuries were serious and were going to require the use of a medical helicopter.
While Deluca gave first aid, McCurdy observed a second female in the vehicle’s back seat, holding the driver’s head and attempting to minimize any possible neck injuries. This woman was later identified as Erin E. Harlan, also of St. James, who confirmed she was also a nurse.
McCurdy said an EMS supervisor arrived on scene within a short time. Thanks to the information already provided by Deluca and Harlan, he was able to “quickly relay the information to the EMS supervisor,” according to him. A medical helicopter was quickly dispatched.
A St. James ambulance arrived while Deluca and Harlan were still assisting inside the vehicle, keeping the driver’s head and neck still and applying pressure to the driver’s head wound. When the ambulance arrived, the pair helped move the driver onto a backboard, and the driver was transported to University Hospital in Columbia.
According to McCurdy, the driver survived and is in the recovery process.
“Without the help, quick thinking and knowledge of Mrs. Deluca and Mrs. Harlan, the driver of the vehicle may have suffered more severe physical injuries or even death,” he said. “Mrs. Deluca and Mrs. Harlan unselfishly put their own safety at risk, and most definitely assisted in saving the life of the driver, Jaclyn L. Thompson.”
McCurdy said both women “performed in an exemplary manner,” under dangerous and stressful conditions. For their efforts, McCurdy requested each of them be awarded the Honorary Trooper Certificate.