CO Supervisor Wins Valor Award For Helping Victim of Car Accident
May 3, 2016
WALLA WALLA – Tony Boyle was heading to his job as a corrections officer supervisor at the Washington State Penitentiary when he rounded a corner about 12:30 in the afternoon and saw a white Chevy Tahoe upside down on the side of the road.
The accident had just happened and Boyle was the only person there, so he didn’t hesitate. He pulled over and got out to see if he could help. A former emergency medical technician (EMT), Boyle worked to stabilize a car accident victim and keep her breathing until an ambulance arrived.
Boyle was awarded the Washington State Department of Corrections’ valor award during a ceremony on May 3 because of his efforts.
Boyle recalled arriving at the scene on March 12, 2015, to find a passenger who’d been thrown through the vehicle’s windshield. She was in a fetal position about 10 feet away from the SUV. “I was in uniform and had my personal protective stuff on me, so I put on some gloves,” he said, and checked the woman for injuries.
He heard raspy breathing. “She had blood that was puddling up in her mouth and nose, so I had to get her tipped over to her side, and she had stuff, road debris, in her mouth so I just opened her mouth and let it pour out.”
The woman also vomited several times and Boyle made sure her airway remained cleared. She fought and scratched, so Boyle held her tight to keep her head stable. “I felt she was in shock,” he said.
The driver of the vehicle, who was upset, was walking around as well and Boyle had to try to calm him down while tending to the woman.
Firefighter EMTs later showed up and Boyle worked with them as a team to stabilize the woman and strap her to a stretcher. “I didn’t let loose of her from the time I started until the time they shut the back doors of the ambulance,” he said.
After the ambulance left, “I was just standing there,” he said. “I peeled my gloves off. I asked the police if they needed any help and they said no. I had to go home and change my uniform because there was blood on it and glass in my knee (from kneeling on the road) and my pants were torn.”
Then he went to work at the prison.
Boyle said his training at the Department of Corrections kicked in when he was at the accident. “Every one of us who works for the department is trained to deal with emergency situations. Most people run away from things and we run towards them. It’s just natural for me to do what I did,” he said.
Asked if he helped save the woman’s life, Boyle said, “I don’t want to say that. I don’t want to take any ownership of that because I just did what anyone of us would have done, really… We deal with emergencies on a daily basis. It was something I could respond to. There are plenty of men and women here (at DOC) who do it every day and they would have done the same thing I did.”
Steve Sinclair, the assistant secretary of prisons for the department agreed, noting that as much as Sergeant Boyle’s “actions that day exemplify what we want to see in all staff, you have to recognize that at all of our facilities and field offices, heroes pass through those doors every day.”