How an Airman's timely intervention saved lives after a car crash

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Dakota Raub
  • Space Launch Delta 45

It was thought to be an average Tuesday morning to the everyday commuter when suddenly, things took a turn.

State Road 404, the Pineda Causeway, is a highway stretching from U.S. 1 to State Road A1A. It is a route many people take on their daily commute to work.

At any given time, this causeway can be congested with numerous drivers trying to make their way to their destination. With more drivers there can be a higher risk of accidents.

On the morning of May 9, 2023, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Layman Franklin, 709th Cyberspace Squadron support center noncommissioned officer in charge, was on his way to work when he was involved in a three-car collision on the Pineda Causeway.

“When I heard tires screech and a crash sound behind me, I pulled off to the shoulder,” said Franklin. “I saw a Chevrolet Tahoe strike a Hyundai Santa Fe, which then struck me.”

Despite his car being hit, Franklin jumped out to go check on the Santa Fe’s driver. He used the Massive bleeding, Airway, Respiration, Circulation, Hypothermia (MARCH) protocol from Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) to triage the victims.

“The driver of the Santa Fe was unconscious, so I put her car in park and ran through MARCH,” said Franklin. “She had no massive bleeding, and I could see she was breathing, which satisfied airway and respiration.”

He then went over to the Tahoe which Franklin noticed to be in worse shape. After forcing the door open to check the driver, he noticed there was also no massive bleeding, and since the driver could talk, airway and respiration were good to go.

“When looking at the passenger of the Tahoe, I would see the windshield was broken from her head hitting it,” said Franklin. “Because she was a minor and the airbag didn't deploy, it was apparent she would be the highest priority.”

She was unresponsive and seizing from a traumatic brain injury from the blunt force impact to the windshield.

A fire truck arrived on scene and Franklin directed them to the minor and relayed her injuries, which in turn, prompted them to call a helicopter to transport her to the hospital.

While Franklin did not have to use first aid on the victims, he was able to save time and triage priorities for firefighters.

“By Franklin prying open vehicle doors, he saved critical time by retrieving and loading a passenger onto a Life Flight helicopter,” said (Ret.) U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Aaron Lake, former 709th Cyberspace Squadron commander. “He undoubtedly contributed to saving the two drivers and a young passenger’s life.”

Franklin's extraordinary foresight and immediate response to the multi-car collision led to him being awarded the Air and Space Achievement Medal.

Franklin continues to teach TCCC to service members ensuring they are properly trained for any incident, while on or off duty.

“I have since become an instructor for the civilian equivalent, Stop the Bleed classes, to try and put more people into our community that have basic trauma training,” said Franklin. “The more people that have the knowledge, the better.”