ST. LOUIS, Mo. –
While heading home recently on a busy highway just south of St. Louis, a recruiting NCO came upon an accident scene that tested his resolve as a Soldier and Army medic.
Staff Sgt. Seamus O'Neel, Kansas City Recruiting Battalion, approached a motorcycle laying on its side in the middle of a six-lane highway Aug. 25. The motorcycle was engulfed in flames and the rider was on the pavement, clearly suffering from a number of serious injuries.
While several drivers in the immediate area stopped and backed their vehicles away from the flames and others slowed to navigate around the scene, O’Neel, a former Army medic, sprang into action.
O’Neel said he exited his vehicle and quickly positioned himself on the ground between the semi-conscious victim and the burning motorcycle. “I needed to assess the situation and do what I could to ensure he didn’t sustain further injury until help arrived,” O’Neel said.
O’Neel said his medic training and Army experience taught him the importance of calming traumatic injury victims immediately, and he knew that doing so would be much easier if the individual wasn’t in a position to view the burning wreckage that used to be his motorcycle.
After witnessing the O’Neel’s reaction to the crash, other drivers began to stop and offer assistance. O’Neel said he directed the group of good Samaritans to find a fire extinguisher and call 911 immediately. O’Neel also resisted a number of attempts by other motorist to move the victim off the highway, knowing the dangers associated with taking such action.
The rider, who was not wearing a helmet, had an open leg fracture with a shin bone protruding through his skin. “He was lucky to be alive,” O’Neel said.
After calming the motorcyclist, O’Neel continued his efforts to stabilize the victim, holding his head still until an ambulance eventually arrived on scene. “He kept asking about his son,” he said.
O’Neel, who was wearing his Army uniform at the time, briefed the police upon arrival but maintained control at the scene until the paramedics arrived.
O’Neel’s heroism was no surprise to Capt. David Skrzypiec, O’Neel’s company commander.
“He’s a leader, in words and actions. The fact that he did this only validates what he demonstrates in terms of character every day,” Skrzypiec said.