Veteran aids Pocatello accident victim on Veterans Day
POCATELLO — Will Linch put his military medical training to good use on Veterans Day, helping the victim of a traffic accident that occurred on the residential street near his Old Town home.
Linch, 35, was his platoon’s designated combat lifesaver, tasked with administering medical aid, during a 2004 deployment to Iraq with the Army National Guard’s 3rd Battalion of the 116th Cavalry Brigade.
The 36-year-old Pocatello woman who was involved in the 4:47 p.m. accident was not badly injured — and a police report confirms Linch’s decisive response and expertise likely played a big role in keeping her safe.
Linch had been playing a card game with his family and eating take-out — offered free by a local restaurant in appreciation of veterans’ military service. During a break in the card game, Linch took his dogs outside to brush them, when he heard a crash, which sounded like a slamming dumpster lid.
He looked over his fence to see a black Subaru Legacy tipped on its side, with its passenger door facing up, in the middle of South Lincoln Avenue, between Center and Lewis streets.
As he ran toward the car, Linch saw a woman attempting to crawl through a narrow gap between the pavement and a shattered driver’s-side window. He shouted for her to stay put.
“It was jagged glass, and the car was teetering,” Linch said. “I didn’t want it to fall on her.”
Linch then assessed her injuries, asking her where she felt pain and had difficulty moving. She said her arm hurt badly. Linch also checked to see if she could remember her name.
Linch and his wife, Cydney, braced the car with wooden blocks from their yard and had a passing motorist call 911. Linch asked the woman to stand up and roll down the passenger-side window. Standing on a tire, while Cydney held the car for additional support to prevent it from tipping, Linch opened the passenger door and pulled the driver out.
She had a contusion on her head, dilated eyes and slurred speech, leading Linch to believe she’d suffered a concussion. Police said the driver was treated for minor injuries at the scene of the accident and declined to be transported for medical care.
“To me, it was meaningful during Veterans Day for sure,” Linch said. “It kind of brought back memories. It reminded me of what I had gone through — memories you put aside and don’t even realize you have that knowledge any more.”
Linch said he’d reviewed how to respond to similar circumstances during his U.S. Army Combat Lifesaver Course. While helping the woman, he said he went through “the basic steps of making sure (a victim) is alright, and if they’re in shock, you’re supporting them.”
Their 12-year-old daughter, Laila, also played a role. She grabbed blankets to wrap around the woman before EMTs arrived and talked with her to keep her alert.
According to a police report, the driver was heading south on Lincoln when she had a sneezing fit and clipped the side of a parked 2002 Honda Civic, causing her car to flip. She was wearing a seat belt and was not issued a citation. She told police the first thing she remembered was hearing the sound of Linch’s voice.