Story by: Warrant Officer Ubon A. Mendie - New York Guard Public Affairs Office Dated: Sun, Apr 3, 2011
Pfc. Russell Simplice, from the New York Guard’s 14th Brigade in NYC, helped rescue family members following a vehicle crash near his home in Queens April 3. Photo by Warrant Officer Ubon Mendie.
NEW YORK -- A volunteer of the New York Guard state defense force sprang in to action to rescue an infant after a two-car crash near his home in Cambria Heights, Queens on April 3.
Pfc. Russell Simplice of the 14th Brigade in Whitestone responded to the accident after he heard the deafening collision.
“I heard a loud screech then boom, while I was raking my lawn,” Simplice said. I started to walk toward the sound and that’s when I realized what was going on.”
Five passengers were in a green van pinned to a tree. Two boys, aged 10 and 12, were unhurt in the crash, but their parents and younger sibling were injured and in need of immediate assistance.
That is when Simplice jumped into action.
Disregarding broken glass and other debris, Simplice, with the assistance of other good Samaritans, was able to get the rear van door open, just wide enough for him to crawl inside and rescue the crying child.
"I felt this adrenaline rush and just ran in there and grabbed her," Simplice said. "A neighbor gave me a white towel to wrap her in, and I handed her to my wife. Then I went back in to help the parents."
Both parents were sitting in the front of the vehicle, they were conscious after the crash, but they were bleeding heavily from the impact with the windshield.
Simplice explained that both the driver and passenger looked dazed and rested their heads on the windows, not moving.
With his training in law enforcement, Simplice knew that one of the most important parts of his response was to keep the victims calm until they were able to be taken to the hospital.
“I’m just glad that I was able to be there when a family needed me,” said Simplice, who waited with the family until first responders arrived. “I didn’t do anything special, just what I would expect anyone else too.”
According to local news reports, none of the injuries were considered life-threatening. All of those in need of medical care were taken to Long Island Jewish and Jamaica hospitals.