ALTUS, Okla. (TNN) - The quick actions of an Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper out of Altus were instrumental in saving a woman’s life.
"Trooper Jeff Fielder has been on the job for more than a decade and says March 19th started just like any other day. Fielder said he saw a car with trailer driving slowly in the right lane of Highway 283 just north of Altus.
"Then out of nowhere I saw this little car just rear-end the backside of that trailer,” Fielder said.
Fielder said the front of the car was damaged and the airbags deployed, so initially, he couldn't really see the woman driving. But once he was able to open the door, things changed.
"That's when I saw she had an obvious injury to her left hand that needed immediate medical attention. At that point, the only thing I knew to do was go get the tourniquet from my patrol car,” Fielder said.
That was a move medical personnel later told Fielder's supervisor was instrumental in saving the woman's life. The woman lost her hand but because of the quick action, she was able to be quickly transferred from Jackson County Memorial Hospital to a hospital in Oklahoma City. Troop M Commander Johnny Freeman said he's proud to have troopers like that stationed in Altus.
"It seems like we always end up with the best guys who rise to the occasion. Everything they do daily, in situations like we've had here in 2020, they actually never surprises me but I'm always surprised that God puts us in the right place at the right time, these guys are trained and willing and able to do the right thing and it's amazing what they do on a daily basis. I'm overwhelmed and humbled just to be associated with guys like that,” Freeman said.
Fielder said he is humbled by the praise but that's not why he does the job. He said he doesn't believe in coincidences and that he believes he was supposed to be there to help the woman.
"For me personally, I just want to help people on a daily basis. It doesn't have to be on a traffic stop. It's as simple as saying hi to someone at a gas station, just talking to them, letting them get something off their chest. There's way more than writing tickets and taking people to jail. It's about really changing the community and you do that one encounter at a time,” Fielder said.
Medical personnel also credited Fielder for keeping the patient calm throughout the process. It kept her stable with good blood pressure when they arrived, allowing them to quickly transfer her by helicopter.