A man driving a vacuum sewage truck, along with his passenger, was hospitalized this morning after his truck hit a tree alongside U.S. Highway 378 E, just two miles from Highway 261.
Sgt. 1st Class John Jackson, U.S. Army Central plans noncommissioned officer in charge and Coolville, Ohio native, witnessed the accident as he was returning from an appointment at Fort Jackson at 9:30 a.m., and wasted no time providing first aid to the wounded driver and passenger, who lost his right leg below the knee in one vehicle accident.
Jackson said his initial thoughts when he arrived to the scene of the accident was to maintain the victims in the vehicle until emergency responders arrived, however he smelled fuel, saw sparks and smoke then he quickly decided to evacuate them from the vehicle to get them out of harm’s way.
“I had seen these injuries before. I had treated these injuries before – amputations, decapitations, fractures – I have seen about every flavor of trauma you can imagine,” said Jackson, an infantryman and former Special Operations medic, who served four tours in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan.
Another Soldier, Sgt. Major Jess Todd, USARCENT Strategy and Effect sergeant major, and a few civilians stopped to assist Jackson.
“Jackson took command of the situation, giving orders to the civilian and me to pull the passenger out of the vehicle while he did the heavy lifting himself across the crushed dashboard and gear shifters,” said Todd.
At 9:50 a.m., the Sumter County Sheriff’s Department received a call for help, and within minutes, emergency response teams were called to respond to the truck accident.
Sumter County Emergency Medical Services arrived at 10:03 a.m., followed by the county’s Fire Department and Highway patrol, where responders found the truck passenger already bandaged with a tourniquet.
“Jackson maintained a cool, collected demeanor and kept the passenger awake. His reassuring tone was effective as he continued to give directions to the civilians and driver,” said Todd.
The victim was airlifted to Palmetto Health Richland in Columbia.
Without Jackson’s swift action, the man would have died, according to Battalion Chief Brian L. Christmas, Sumter County Fire Department.
“I think by him placing the tourniquet, stopping the bleeding or minimizing the bleeding, it definitely contributed to saving his life,” said Christmas.
The accident is currently under investigation. ###
U.S. Army Central has been resident in Central Asia and the Middle East for more than 20 years. With forward headquarters in Kuwait, Qatar, and Afghanistan, our presence preserves regional stability and prosperity. U.S. Army Central provides the strategic land power that prevents conflict, shapes the environment and, when necessary, wins the Nation’s wars