Carleton Swanson’s drive to work at the Wood County Engineer’s garage has become anything but routine.
Swanson and his fiance Abby Paquin described how Swanson protected the lives of two people in two different accidents, one which occurred last spring and the second in December. Both occurred on Dunbridge Road.
Swanson said he was headed to work on Dunbridge on Dec. 5 around 7:30 a.m. on the day of the most recent accident.
“It was dark in the pre-dawn hour, so I almost did not see a car rolled over in the cornfield on Dunbridge near Poe Road,” he said.
Paquin added, “Carl took action by pulling off the road and running into the field to assist.”
The driver was trapped in the vehicle, Swanson said.
“The rollover caused the doors to jam so they would not open, so I helped this driver, a 17-year-old kid, by pulling him out through the blown-out back window of the car,” he said.
Once pulled from the vehicle, the teen had no major injuries but was very shaken by the accident, Swanson said.
“Once I helped calm the kid down, we located his phone to contact local authorities and his family,” he said.
Paquin said earlier this year, the stakes possibly were even higher.
“On his way to work, he saw two vehicles had run into a deep, water-filled ditch along Dunbridge,” she said.
“It happened in April and there was a lot of rain that season,” Swanson said.
“It was a T-bone accident between a small car and a pickup at the intersection of Dunbridge and Reitz road. Both vehicles had landed in a water-filled ditch. I saw that someone else had pulled over to help the driver in the pickup, so I pulled over to assist the driver of the small car. He was cold and gasping for air,” Swanson said.
Swanson was able to pull the driver out, Paquin said.
“Carl then went back in that cold water to help save some of the driver’s items, including his cell phone to call for help,” she said.
Swanson’s nature is to take on challenges.
“I have always loved flying,” he said, adding that he is completing a Bowling Green State University degree in the aviation program, finishing up a single engine add-on for his commercial license for the FAA.
“I am a pretty laid-back, go-with-the flow person, but every now and then, I’m up for a challenge,” Swanson said.
It is probably a certainty that two drivers are glad for that.
Swanson has been awarded the Good Samaritan award from the Black Swamp Humanitarian awards committee, said Wood County Sheriff Mark Waslylyshyn.
The sheriff suggested that when assisting in an accident, especially before emergency personnel arrive to the accident site, to also consider other ways to make an accident victim comfortable rather than removing from a vehicle.
“You really shouldn’t remove an accident victim unless the car is on fire,” he said “And, make sure (in helping an accident victim) that you don’t become another accident victim by making sure the area is safe to enter.”