NS Norfolk Community
What Would You Do?
Story by CPO Anastasia McCarroll on 01/04/2019
How often have you witnessed a fender bumper or someone stranded on the side of the road with flashing lights and you just drove passed them without a second thought. Imaging how annoyed you felt when stuck in a traffic jam only to find out people were physically hurt or worst. So what would you do if a car traffic accident happed right in front of you?
For Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Hannah Swigert assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), it was another typical morning as she drove to work, however on the morning of November 7, Swigert was faced with a decision to make. Too often bystanders may not act if someone needs help because they assume someone else will handle the problem, but Swigert chose to place herself in harm’s way in order to come to the aide of another person in need.
“I was scared for them and I was hoping everyone was okay,” exclaimed Swigert. “I noticed a fuel leak behind a car and I immediately got out my car, when I heard a woman crying, so I checked-up on her.”
The person Swigert held in the car was a fellow Sailor assigned to Carrier Strike Group 2, Cmdr. Danielle Williams.
Like most morning traffic near Norfolk Naval Station, Williams was blocks away from base waiting at a traffic light on the corner of Hampton and Admiral Tausig Boulevard. “As I looked at the opposite light turn red, I then looked back to my light turning green and proceeded to drive.”
Just as Williams began to move, a Ram pick-up truck drove pass the traffic light crashing into her and another vehicle, which happened to be fellow Bataan crew member, colliding with Williams’ vehicle causing her to spin.
Williams remembered hearing a loud boom and glass flying everywhere while her car was spinning uncontrollably. The traffic accident shocked Williams, disorienting her for a spell, but she did recall Swigert comforting her in her moment of need.
“I honestly don’t remember Swigert getting into my car from the passenger door, but I remember her being there asking me if I was okay and asking to me to calm down,” explained Williams. “She then dialed a number on my phone for me because I was too shaken up.”
Swigert witnessing the accident happing before her, jumped into action.
“I just went through training of what to do if someone was hurt, but I admit I was in shock too. I was surprised no one else was getting out of their car to help out. Everyone just kind of stood there. I just happened to make sure that everyone was okay. I didn’t want anyone to die or anything,” exclaimed Swigert.
While other drivers were accessing the damages to their vehicles, Swigert sat by Williams’ side assuring her to remain claim while assisting her get in contact with her master chief petty officer and waiting for emergency response to get Williams adequate medical treatment.
“There are a lot of times people see accidents occur and they don’t stop. On this morning, I am very thankful to Swigert for her quick response at the time of the accident,” expressed Williams. “We are called to service when we defend our country and her call to service was not only provided to the Navy we serve on this day, but also to a shipmate in need.”
In 2017, the Virginia Highway Safety Office recorded 127,375 traffic accidents in the Hampton Road area, an estimated 349 traffic accidents per day in the seven surrounding cities.
Swigert, a native of Washougal, Washington joined the Navy to service her country, but to also be a role model to her younger siblings. “I just want them to know that they could do and become anything they set their heart in.”