'Am I going to die?': Bystanders, CCSO deputy help save woman's life after her arm was nearly severed in crash
HAPPY JACK, Ariz. - WARNING: Graphic content
During the Labor Day holiday weekend, a Coconino County Sheriff's deputy was speaking with a group of campers on Forest Service Road 122C south of Clints Well along Highway 87 when a UTV rollover accident happened.
Deputy Andrew Luna and other citizens in the area responded to the emergency with medical care after the 19-year-old female driver was injured in the crash on Sept. 5.
"The vehicle had landed on its side on top of the driver / victim. Bystanders uprighted the vehicle to access the victim, and the deputy called in a request for emergency medical response to the scene," stated CCSO officials on their Facebook page.
“As I’m running over there, my first thing was let’s get medics going," Luna recounted. "We’re in a very remote area. It’s gonna take them a while."
As Luna applied the tourniquet and bystanders helped the injured woman, she was heard asking, “Am I going to die?”
The UTV driver's left arm had suffered a near-complete amputation above the elbow and she was bleeding profusely.
“Well, I think if no one had been there, she would have likely have died from blood loss 'cause it was a traumatic injury, but fortunately for her, for whatever reason, everybody was at the right place at the right time," said Kris Constantine, who held the woman during the ordeal.
"Deputy Luna quickly retrieved a tourniquet, which is issued to all Sheriff’s Office deputies, and applied that tourniquet above the injury, effectively stopping the bleeding," stated officials.
“Timing was everything, from when I called the ambulance to when they arrived on scene, just due to how secluded that area is. Was approximately 26 minutes," said Luna.
>> CCSO video from the scene of the crash [Viewer discretion advised]: facebook.com/CoconinoSheriff/videos/442815150012147
CCSO said due to the remote and rough road conditions, initial access to the scene by the Blue Ridge Fire Department was difficult, so Deputy Luna prepared to transport the victim in his patrol vehicle. He also applied a second tourniquet and moved her to the backseat of his car. By that time, an ambulance was able able to get to the scene and emergency medical technicians could provide care.
The woman was later transported to Honor Health - Scottsdale Osborn hospital by a Native Air helicopter for treatment and the sheriff's office says she survived thanks to the quick actions of bystanders and Deputy Luna's response in applying a tourniquet within minutes of the injury occurring.
The driver's name and details of what caused the crash have not been released.
"Yes it was traumatic and stuff, so I know this girl is going to be okay and it’s gonna take a lot of time. Just grateful that she’s alive," said witness Lena Gomez.
For Gomez, the incident was a flashback of sorts. She says her brother is paralyzed from the waist down following a similar off-roading accident two years ago.
On Sept. 12, the crash victim was identified as 19-year-old Lidia Almeida. You can donate to her GoFundMe page here.
Read more about her story a week after the crash.
Storyful contributed to this report.