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'I never knew I could pull dead weight' | Woman with no medical training saves lives after I-70 crash

A truck and a car sped past both sides of her, and moments later there was a crash
Credit: Select Specialty Hospital

ST. LOUIS — A local hospital is praising one of its employees for saving two lives after a crash on eastbound Interstate 70.

Katrina Davis was just six weeks into her new job as a human resources manager for Select Specialty Hospital (SSH) in St. Louis when she drove home from work on Dec. 3, 2019, the hospital wrote in January.

A truck and a car sped past both sides of her, and moments later there was a crash. 

Davis had never had any sort of medical training, but she immediately pulled over and ran to help, SSH said.

The car was smoking and the driver was trying to climb out when she got to him. She saw that he had lower-body injuries and helped pull him from the wreckage and drag him a safe distance.

“I never knew I could pull dead weight, but I did,” she said.

A passenger was also lying half-out of the car with his head in the passenger seat. Without medical training, Davis assessed that he might have a neck injury and decided not to move him.

"I checked his pulse and asked if he was OK,” Katrina said. “He groaned, so at least I knew he was alive.”

Davis called 911 on her phone while the driver of the car started screaming for her to call his dad. She spoke to 911 on her phone and called the driver's father on his phone, all while working to keep the driver from moving and further injuring himself, SSH said.

Davis got a second bystander to direct traffic away from her and directed first responders to the crash. When emergency crews arrived, they asked her to hold the passenger's neck as they removed him from the car.

The two men were taken to the hospital.

“I didn’t feel any adrenaline until I got to my mom’s house,” Davis said. “Then, I started shaking and said ‘what did I just do?’”

The passenger managed not to have any serious injuries, but the driver's thigh bone was broken in two places, among other injuries, SSH said. 

Davis visited the passenger in the hospital and communicated with the driver's parents for updates as he underwent surgery.

She credits several personal experiences for helping her keep cool that night. Her parents, both disabled, have had numerous health scares over the years. She’d also been in her own accident two years prior.

“I have nieces and nephews. There was no way I could have not stopped to help them. Anything that I could do, I’d do it,” she said.

Regional HR director Tonya Eddington, who happened to get stuck in the traffic caused by the accident, commended Davis' bravery for stopping to help on a busy highway during rush hour.

“When I passed by the accident after a long wait on the bridge, I was happy to see first responders were on site, as it really was a very horrible accident," Eddington said. "I would have never guessed Katrina was the true ‘first responder.’”

Both men are now home.

“This is such a heroic thing,” said SSH CEO Bruce Eady. “With no medical training, she jumped in and saved lives.”

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