Rescue workers quick to react to crash victim

February 21, 1997


Staff Writer

Patricia "Trish" Woolston of Westminster thinks angels came to call this week when a 37-year-old was thrown from his motorcyle and onto the Dual Highway.

Thursday afternoon at about 2 p.m., Woolston was pulling out of a restaurant when she saw a motorcycle and a van collide.

Within moments, she and a handful of others had stopped to do what they could for the injured Greencastle, Pa, motorcyclist.


Besides Woolston, the others who rushed to help included a medical technician and a former critical-care nurse.

"What are the odds?" asked Woolston.

Woolston said she held James L. Beard's hand until rescue crews arrived.

"The rescue workers knew exactly what they were doing," Woolston said. "They deserve some kind of award."

"You can't imagine how everything came together," she said. "It was like an orchestrated ballet ... so graceful. I think there was literally an angel on his shoulder.''

Mary Rulle, a former Washington County Hospital critical-care nurse and now a real estate agent, was walking out of her office on the Dual Highway when she heard a loud noise.

"I saw a van and thought I saw two bags of garbage on the street. Then one of the bags of garbage moved..."

Rulle said she went to Beard and held his head to make sure his body stayed aligned. "I kept talking to him,'' she said. "Everyone was talking to him."

At one point, Beard stopped breathing. Rulle said the strangers reacted as one: "I said `Sir!'. And I heard about five other voices go `SIR!'"

Rulle said she thumped Beard once in the chest. When he took a deep breath, those around him let out a sigh of relief.

"He really did touch me," Rulle said. Like Woolston, Rulle said she felt someone was watching over Beard as he lay hurt in the 1700 block of the Dual Highway. "Yes, I think he has angels," she said.

Community Rescue Service Deputy Chief Sam Sandeen said that when the first medics on the scene realized the extent of Beard's injuries, a second crew was called.

Sandeen praised Rulle for keeping Beard immobile. "In this situation, she was the best help that guy could have had," he said. "It was a very unusual call because so many things came together so quickly."

Donnie Lehman was one of the paramedics who responded to the scene near the Tristate Electrical Supply Co.

"As far as a trauma call, it was about as perfect as it gets," Lehman said. "Our ultimate goal is 10 minutes between the time we arrive and leave for the hospital. That's exactly what it took in this case."

Lehman noticed several deep gashes in Beard's helmet. "That helmet probably saved his life," he said.

Talk of angels? "My full-time job is a flight paramedic on a state police helicopter," Lehman said. "I've seen a lot, and I'm totally convinced that we all have a little angel sitting on our shoulder."

Woolston said she believes Beard is destined to do something wonderful in his life.

"He's already accomplished something most people don't ever have the opportunity to do, and that's draw in a group of perfect strangers and get them to work in perfect harmony for the good of someone else."

Beard was listed in critical but stable condition Friday night at University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was flown after being taken to Washington County Hospital.

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