Travis AFB Airman treats motorcycle crash victim

  • Published
  • By T.C. Perkins
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Just nine days before Christmas, Airman 1st Class Richard Crawford, a 60th Communications Squadron cyber security journeyman, decided to take a break from the holiday hustle and bustle to go fishing in Northern California.

Little did he know that by the end of the day, he would be instrumental in possibly saving the life of an injured motorist on U.S. Highway 50.

“I was heading back from a fishing trip when a motorcyclist passed me, lane splitting,” Crawford said. “He got a few cars ahead of me and eventually out of my line of sight; soon after, I heard a collision.”

The collision Crawford heard was a car slamming into the motorcycle at about 50 mph sending the rider skidding across the highway.

Crawford exited his vehicle and noticed the man holding his left leg. He also saw blood dripping from the man’s left foot.

Using skills he learned in self-aid and buddy care training, -- a course that teaches Airmen how to prevent the loss of life, limb or eyesight and treat battlefield casualties -- Crawford tended to the man’s injuries.

“I verified his bleeding wasn’t arterial and used his helmet to elevate the leg to help slow the bleeding,” Crawford said. “I then called 911 and asked people nearby to help move vehicles that were near the victim. As soon as I finished with 911, I moved my vehicle to block the two lanes he was lying in.”

Once the scene was secure, Crawford retrieved a first aid kit and a backpack from his car. He used the bandages and gauze in the kit to tend to the victim and the backpack was provided for the man to use as a pillow.

“I got a small abdominal pad out because he had a pretty big hole in his foot due to the compound fracture and I wanted to make sure the pad would be able to handle the amount of blood that could come out of his foot,” Crawford said. “I handed him two rolls of gauze to secure the wrap in place and once I placed my gloves on, checked the wrap he did and applied another wrap.”

Crawford remained by the man’s side speaking with him and trying to keep him as comfortable as possible until paramedics arrived.

Tech. Sgt. Ryan Padgett, of the 621st Contingency Response Wing, accompanied Crawford on the fishing trip, but the two drove separate cars. Padgett saw the accident’s aftermath after Crawford took the actions he did.

“Thanks to some SABC training and a willingness to act, Crawford assessed the situation, set a course of action and was confident enough to help the injured person,” Padgett said.

Crawford even knew when to refuse advice as one motorist recommended he apply a tourniquet to the injured man’s leg, Padgett said.

“I know he’s a humble guy, so he probably wouldn’t even mention it, but acts like this are in keeping with the highest traditions of Air Force service,” Padgett said. “I hope everyone knows what an asset Airman 1st Class Crawford is.”