Centreville residents help crash victims
CENTREVILLE — Being a good Samaritan is becoming a habit for Jason Hayes of Centreville. Less than 12 hours after he was recognized with by Queen Anne’s County Commissioners for aiding in the rescue of a distressed man on the Bay Bridge in May, Hayes found himself on the scene of an emergency in Arnold. Centreville resident Dallas Brown, who was driving to work when the incident occurred, also stopped to help.
About 7:15 a.m. Wednesday,
June 29, a tree fell into Ritchie Highway (Md. Route 2) south, near Chautaugua Road, and struck the front of a 2012 Ford E450 passenger van, trapping the driver and injuring two other passengers in the vehicle, according to the Anne Arundel County Police Department.
Driving two cars behind the white Providence Center Inc. van that was struck, Hayes said he saw the tree limb break and fall directly into the windshield of the vehicle. He immediately pulled over and ran to help.
“I had to look twice because I saw the limb actually break and I just, literally my first thing was, ‘holy s***, are you kidding me, again?’” Hayes said. “And just as I’m thinking that I’m out the door.”
Having been a paramedic in the Army, Hayes said other people had stopped to help but did not know what to do, so he began directing the community members before the emergency service units arrived.
Brown, who has been active duty in the Coast Guard for 26 years, said he had been an EMT in the past and “just stopped and rendered some help,” using the skills he had received throughout the years, “kind of doing what we do, what I’ve been trained to do, I guess.”
The driver, Jason M. Thorbahn, 57, of Glen Burnie, was transported by a Maryland State Police helicopter to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore with injuries that were serious but not believed to be lifethreatening, according to Anne Arundel County Fire Department. The two passengers, Eloise Howard, 76, of Pasadena, and Carolyn Clark, 32, of Severna Park, were transported to Anne Arundel Medical Center with minor injuries.
Hayes said smoke and flames were coming out of the engine and the Thorbahn’s legs were trapped under the smashed dashboard the tree had crushed into him. “All I could see is he is bleeding profusely. I could see that his arm was cut open, his head was bobbing back ... I’m checking his neck,” Hayes said.
Hayes established conversation with driver in an attempt to keep him awake.
With Brown’s assistance, Hayes rendered first aid. Hayes said while he “tied off his arm to keep his blood in ... Dallas is holding his neck and trying to hold his head straight because the guy is freaking out.”
“My major concern was, are we going to blow up because all I can smell in here is the liquid and I could smell the gas and I can see the flames flicking on the front,” Hayes said.
Anne Arundel Fire Department arrived and put out the fire. The crew from Engine 23 was the same one that responded to the man on the bridge incident, and the captain recognized him, Hayes said.
Hayes said he was concerned he couldn’t see the driver’s legs because the dashboard was smashed down on them and he was afraid if he was able to lift the dashboard up Thorbahn was going to bleed out.
Using the “Jaws of Life” after the fire was extinguished, crews cut the driver out of the van. The fire department said it took crews about 35 minutes to get Thorbahn out, and they immediately transported him to a waiting Maryland State Police helicopter that had landed at a nearby church.
After the fire department took over at the vehicle, Hayes said he focused on Clark, who is developmentally disabled.
“She was screaming, but for some reason when I walked by her she grabbed my hand, so I just held her hand,” he said.
Hayes said the woman was nonverbal and when paramedics came to assist, they had asked Hayes if he could help.
“I stayed with her until they put her in the ambulance ... because any time I would go or someone would ask me to come somewhere I couldn’t break hands with her. She was upset. She just kept looking me in the eyes,” Hayes said.
Once Clark was on a stretcher, Hayes said he stayed until they put her and her caretaker in the ambulance.
For Hayes, a man who did not want to work in the paramedic field because of his prior experience in the military and was not sure how he would handle seeing blood and gore again, the two incidents have opened his eyes to what he believes he needs to be doing with his life.
“If I were to look anyone in the face right now and say, I’m not going to do this, either two things: I’m the stupidest man in the entire world or I’m a just lazy, lazy, lazy person,” Hayes said. “There’s no way anybody can tell me this isn’t the path I need to be going towards.”
Hayes plans to pursue a career in paramedics now, he said.
Hayes said the community of Centreville has supported him in many ways and has helped him come out of his shell.
“The biggest thing is the humbling aspect, especially with this happening twice. I don’t want it to come off as I’m this crazy dude with a cape on trying to run around and get accolades from people. That’s not it at all,” Hayes said. “It’s just I’ve happened to be in these two incredible spots at the right time, and I just feel blessed that I wasn’t injured and I was able to assist others.”
Centreville residents Jason Hayes and Dallas Brown stopped to help victims when their van was struck by a falling tree on Ritchie Highway Wednesday morning, June 29.
The Queen Anne’s Ciounty Commissioners recognized Jason Hayes of Centreville and Lt. Kevin Brenner with the Department of Emergency Services on June 28 for their heroics in helping a distressed man on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in May. From left, Commissioners Steve Wilson, Jack Wilson, Brenner, Hayes, and Commissioners Mark Anderson and Robert Buckey.