PATRICK SPACE FORCE BASE, Fla. — “I just remember him looking straight at me,” the pilot said. “There was so much blood. I knew I had to get him out of the car.”
On September 5, 2022, Private First Class Justin Nystrom, Fleet Management Analysis Technician, 45th Logistics Readiness Squadron, was on the long haul home after visiting his brother-in-law when he witnessed the unthinkable.
Six hours into the journey, he witnessed a tragic car accident. The truck in front of him was hit by the merging vehicle, causing the driver to lose control.
“The truck went straight into the guardrail and went up into the air,” Nystrom said. “I watched it roll through the air and hit the ground hard. I think the passengers must have died due to the severity of the crash.”
Pilots serve the community in uniform. Knowing the risks involved, Nystom said he knew he had to help.
“I pulled over immediately and ran to the vehicle,” Nystrom said. “I quickly assessed the area to make sure it was safe and then I approached. The truck was badly damaged but I could see someone’s feet sticking out the window.”
Dean Talley, an Orlando native and truck driver, said he was driving with his brother when the accident occurred.
“The truck rolled over four or five times and landed on the roof,” Tully said. “It was horrible. I remember every time it flipped over, the cab would be crushed. When I finally came back to myself, I heard someone yelling, ‘Hey! Are you okay in there? Someone’s there to help us ,I am relieved.”
Nystrom frantically called out to the occupants of the car. At first, he said there was no response, but then he heard someone shout: “I’m here!”
“It felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders,” Nystrom said. “Just knowing he’s alive, I’m relieved.”
Tully was able to turn himself around, but couldn’t get out of the car.
The vehicle was smoking, and Nystrom said he knew he had to get him out. He took immediate action and began pulling the driver out of the car.
“Two other guys ran behind me and helped me pull him out,” Nystrom said. “He had blood all over his face and wounds all over his body. I asked him if there was anyone else in the car and he told me his brother was still there.”
Nystrom and the other townspeople ran back to the truck and got his brother out of it. The collision threw him into the backseat, but luckily he escaped almost unscathed, with only minor scrapes and a dislocated shoulder.
With the help of other well-wishers, Nestrom lifted Tully from the smoking vehicle to under a nearby overpass.
After getting Talley and his brother to safety, Nystrom resumed his military training and calmly began Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) procedures. TCCC is a mandatory training developed by the Defense Health Service of the U.S. Department of Defense to teach evidence-based life-saving techniques and strategies to provide optimal trauma care on the battlefield.
“The military taught me everything I could use to deal with this situation,” Nestrom said. “If it wasn’t for my training, I don’t think I would have known what to do.”
First, he performed a visual inspection and assessed the brothers for any wounds that were not immediately visible. Then he starts to go through the TCCC list in his mind.
“I could tell Talley was in a bad state,” Nystrom said. “While I waited for the emergency medical services (EMS) to arrive, I began to provide medical attention to his wounds. I removed some glass from his arms and legs, cleaned them a little, and applied pressure to stop the bleeding.”
It was only 5 minutes before the EMS arrived, but Nystrom said it felt like a lifetime.
Talley said Nystrom remained calm, let him talk and kept checking on his health verbally. When EMS arrived, Talley was taken to hospital where he made a full recovery from his injuries.
When asked why he decided to stop and help that day, Nystrom said it was the right thing to do.
“Helping is just pure instinct,” Nystrom said. “I was thinking what would happen if I was in that situation. I wanted someone to help me, so why wouldn’t I help someone else?”
Talley said it was a blessing to have Nystrom on hand that day, and he thanked him for everything he did.
“The fact that this pilot stopped to help me means a lot to me,” Tully said. “Not many people would take the time to do what he did. He risked his life to get me off the truck and make sure I was okay. He was more worried about my safety than himself.”
Now, just over three months after the accident, Tully and Nestrom plan to reunite.
“After the accident, he tracked down my information and contacted me to make sure I was okay,” Tully said. “We plan to get together and talk about what happened that day.”
If there’s one thing people can learn from his story, Nystrom said, it’s that if you see someone in need, help them.
“I knew I needed to help, and I knew I could help, so I did,” Nystrom said. “It’s the right thing to do. If you see something like this, no matter what your beliefs, we’re all human, go help them.”
|release date:||12.14.2022 16:17|
|Place:||Patrick Space Force Base, Florida, USA|
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