Editor’s Note: Names of minors injured have been withheld from this story.
December brought hazardous road conditions, but in the case of the following account of a November accident, not a single snowflake had fallen.
Key Peninsula Fire Department Division Chief Guy Allen wrote, “On Tuesday, Nov. 25, we were dispatched at 06:57 to a vehicle crash into a tree on Key Peninsula Highway North at 102nd Avenue.” Allen added that this was also erroneously reported to be at KPHN and Minterwood Drive a couple hundred feet farther down the highway.
“It was a single vehicle with four high school aged occupants,” said Allen.
The vehicle left the roadway for an undetermined reason and crashed into a tree. One patient suffered multiple fractures and another had blunt trauma to the chest and stomach area. All four were transported to Tacoma trauma hospitals, two by KPFD, one by Gig Harbor FD, and one by Kitsap District 7 (Port Orchard).
Henderson Bay High School student, Will Britten, 16, received his original First Aid CPR card from the KPFD while in Boy Scout Troop 222. He said he, “just renewed my card at West Sound Tech this last summer.”
Britten was on the school bus on his way to school when the bus suddenly stopped.
“I saw my driver, Candy White, quickly get out of her seat. A woman had come running up to the bus door looking frantic. When the driver opened the door the woman yelled, ‘The car is on fire and there are kids stuck inside!’ Candy quickly grabbed her fire extinguisher, and three of us, Jeremy Geer from PHS, Patrick Mirenta from HBHS and myself, jumped up and followed her. I saw a girl on the road holding her leg screaming, ‘I broke my leg!’”White extinguished flames in the engine compartment. The boy who had been in the car wishes to remain anonymous. He said he was trapped but managed to kick out the rear window behind the driver’s seat and drag himself out of the vehicle.
“Just then,” wrote Britten, “the boy who had been in the car yelled at me for help. I quickly ran to him and found a girl with her head stuck between the passenger window and door. I asked her if she was injured and she said she was just stuck.
“I looked for a way to break the glass without causing her injury. I pulled on the glass causing it to shatter and freeing the girl’s neck. I saw Patrick and Jeremy helping her safely away from the car. Patrick took off his jacket to cushion her head.”Britten said he and Patrick helped her and another girl who was trying to climb out the back window. He acted quickly, not knowing if the fire in the engine compartment may reignite.
“We all worked together to keep the two girls we pulled out of the car awake and warm,” said Geer. “I would like to give credit to my Dad for making me the person I am and giving me the confidence and the strength to stay calm and help others when I can.”
Geer is enrolled in the delayed entry program for the US Marine Corps and will be headed for boot camp after graduation from PHS.
Chief Allen said, “The guys tell me that the call went really well. Great mutual aid response from Gig Harbor and Kitsap County. The road was only blocked for about 50 to 60 minutes.”