Twentynine Palms Community
Coeur d’Alene Marine Rescues Man from Overturned Vehicle
Story by Sgt Travis Gershaneck on 01/31/2019
SEATTLE, Wash. – A Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Marine’s Christmas weekend at home turned into a mission to save a man’s life.
It was nearing midnight when 18-year-old Pfc. David Brown and his friends put out their bonfire near Hayden Creek Road to make the 12-mile drive back home. Only a quarter of a mile along the dirt path, Brown paused behind a column of stopped cars.
A girl frantically knocked on the window of his Toyota Tacoma and shouted “We need help!” Without hesitation, Brown and his buddy Braiden Lininger found themselves sprinting down a trail.
“As we looked around, you could see off the side of the mountain was a red trucked tipped on its side,” said Lininger. “David ran down there and started to help.”
Brown recalls seeing 15 others attempt to tip the vehicle right side up. He approached to help but as he approached the vehicle he saw someone trapped under it.
“When I got down the hill to help, I realized someone was right by my feet with his head pinned under the vehicle,” Brown said.
According to Deputy Jordan Merz, an officer with the Kootenai County Sherriff’s Office, the road becomes increasingly hazardous during the colder months.
“The conditions around that area are really horrible during the winter,” said Deputy Jordan Merz, an officer with the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office who gathered statements from witnesses that night.
Despite the harsh environment, the group of Good Samaritans were able to flip the truck upright and Brown pulled the injured man free. He quickly realized the man required immediate medical attention and applied first-aid instinctively.
“He started to initiate standard first aid, asking the victim questions to make sure he was conscious and aware of his surroundings,” Lininger said. “David took charge and was telling people what to do, pointing at them at saying you do this, and you do this.'”
Brown credits his ability to respond hastily and effectively to his training. He had recently attended Marine Corps Recruit Training where he learned basic lifesaving skills and recently trained on vehicle emergency response, such as tactical vehicle egress, at his current command.
“We had gone through some pretty extensive training in vehicle roll-overs the past few weeks at my unit,” Brown said. “I told the other guys I got this. I’m trained for this.'”
As he assessed the situation, Brown saw the person suffered severe injuries. He knew it was inevitable advanced emergency services would be required, but there were none in the immediate area. One of the good Samaritans on scene was a certified nursing assistant and helped Brown.
“The first thing we are taught to do is assess the situation, then check for signs of Traumatic Brain Injury through behavior changes, and finally triage and check for concussions,” Brown said. “I was sure he had a neck injury because he couldn’t move his arms too well. I warmed him up with a flannel and told him not to move. A certified nursing assistant helped me clean and bandage the wounds.”
Due to the distance to nearby emergency medical facilities, Brown and the nurse aide decided to take action and transport the person to a hospital on their own.
“David went back on his training,” said Merz. “He performed first aid, asked all the right questions and got the injured passenger the help that he needed.”
For Brown the situation was an opportunity to apply Marine Corps training in a real-life scenario.
“The whole thing felt like the training I just had, but it was the real thing,” he said.
Brown was on recruiter’s assistance duty with Recruiting Sub-Station Hayden, Recruiting Station Seattle, 12th Marine Corps Recruiting District, giving him an opportunity to be home for the holidays while also contributing to the Marine Corps’ recruiting efforts. Brown enlisted in July 2017 as a junior in high school.
“Before, I was working two jobs while going to school and didn’t have a whole lot going for me,” he said. “Joining was one of the best decisions of my life. My advice for men and women my age is to be smart and honest about what you think you’re going to do and what will actually happen.”
Brown is a motor transport operator with 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion based at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California.