OCEAN CITY — Two Ocean City restaurant workers put the “hospital” in hospitality last weekend when they were each first on the scene and helped save lives at two different serious motorcycle accidents on the same night about 100 blocks apart.
Shortly before 7 p.m. last Friday, local resident, firefighter, paramedic, rescue swimmer and Uber driver Mick Chester was working behind the bar at a busy Mother’s Cantina when a serious accident occurred involving a motorcycle and a pedestrian occurred just out front in the area of Coastal Highway and 28th Street. Chester dropped what he was doing and dashed outside to intervene, administering First Aid, identifying and prioritizing the various victims and taking command of the situation until police and Emergency Services arrived.
About six hours later, Krista Brooks, who with her husband, Johnny, operate the Crabcake Factory businesses, was working in the restaurant when another serious accident involving a motorcycle occurred just out front of the Ocean City operation at 120th Street. Like Chester, Brooks ran outside and began tending to the seriously injured victims, a husband and wife, until police and Emergency Services arrived. Brooks calmed the victims, attempted to stabilize them and directed her employees to provide her with supplies to begin treating the victims until help arrived.
In the 28th Street accident, the investigation revealed a motorcycle struck a pedestrian who was not crossing the highway in a crosswalk and was on her cell phone. Chester said this week he was bartending at Mother’s Cantina and was walking into the kitchen when a co-worker alerted him to the accident.
“I ran out front and there were multiple patients with serious injuries strewn across the three lanes of the highway,” he said. “The first thing I did was a triage to determine the seriousness of their injuries and begin to prioritize them. It was a pretty bad scene with people and cars everywhere, but I had to begin treating the patients. The most critical was the woman and she was unconscious. I began CPR and she started to come around by the time the first police officer arrived.”
With the pedestrian somewhat stabilized, Chester began an assessment and treatment of a male victim.
“We had two Priority 1 patients in the roadway and I began rendering aid in the best way I knew how until the EMTs arrived,” he said. “I briefed them on the situation and requested multiple helicopters. The Maryland State Police Trooper 4 arrived and transported the female victim and we requested Trooper 2 out of Delaware for the male victim, but we eventually canceled Trooper 2 and the male victim was transported by ambulance.”
According to the OCPD, the pedestrian was transported to Shock Trauma via Trooper 4, while the motorcycle driver was transported by Ocean City EMS to PRMC in Salisbury. Both sustained non-life threatening injuries. The accident snarled traffic in an already busy area at 28th Street as the three northbound lanes were closed for about 30 minutes and traffic was redirected to Baltimore Avenue. As for Chester, it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time, as he has been in the past.
“You just never know when something is going to happen and you’re going to have to intervene,” he said. “I knew what to do because it’s what we train for and I was happy to be able to help.”
About six hours later around 12:45 a.m. now on Saturday morning, a similar situation unfolded in the area of Coastal Highway and 120th Street. Brooks was working at her family business, the Crab Cake Factory, and the night was winding down a little and she went to the dining room to talk to a friend when she saw the scene unfolding on the highway out front.
“I look out and I see people flying into the median,” she said this week. “I threw my chair down and ran out there. I first saw the lady lying in the road and I talked to her and told her to stay with me and talk with me and I just told her she had been in an accident and tried to reassure her everything was going to be okay. I knew that was an important thing to do. Sometimes, it’s important to get someone emotionally stable before you begin to treat their injuries.”
Brooks said she checked the female victim’s vital signs and found her pulse was weak and her breathing was shallow. The female victim was conscious and complained of neck, head and back pain, so Brooks was careful not to move her. Meanwhile, the female victim’s husband got up and was walking around in a dazed state and inquiring about his wife.
Brooks said she was able to convince the man, who had multiple serious gashes and was bleeding profusely, that his wife was okay and being cared for and got him to sit down. She then began barking instructions to her employees, who had arrived on the scene, to get clean towels and ice so she could begin treating the victims’ injuries.
Paramedics arrived a short time later and Brooks was able to brief them on her layman’s assessment of their injuries and explain what had been done thus far. She helped get the female victim on a stretcher and into an ambulance, but the male victim had gotten up again and complained of feeling dizzy. Brooks said it was likely the loss of blood or shock or both, but the male victim began wandering around the scene and she was able to help convince him, with the help of paramedics, his wife was okay and he needed to be transported to the hospital. Around that time, the victims’ family arrived including a brother and sister-in-law.
“They were obviously very upset and I was able to calm them somewhat and tell them what had happened and what had been done so far,” she said. “There was a lot going on really fast, but I was able to get them through to the paramedics and their loved ones.”
Once the victims had been transported, Brooks instructed an employee to bring her a bag and she carefully collected their belongings from the highway and sent them along with the ambulance. That was the last interaction Brooks had with the victims and she was uncertain of their condition or prognosis of recovery, but about two days later, the couple walked into the Crab Cake Factory to thank her for all she did for them on the scene.
Brooks had already left work when the couple arrived, but was delighted they had recovered and found out the male victim was a retired police officer. Ironically, last Saturday was “Hug A Police Officer Day” and Brooks said this week she was happy she was able to do more than just hug a police officer.
“I just like to help other people,” the humble Brooks said. “I don’t think I did anything that anyone else wouldn’t do in the same situation. I have some medical training and once my twins are a little older, I might explore becoming an EMT. Life is too short not to help somebody when you have the opportunity and even if you can’t help medically, you can always calm victims and reassure them and take care of their emotional needs first.”
If Brooks follows through on her plan to become an EMT, she certainly has a leg up on her fellow trainees. Last Saturday’s incident was not the first time she intervened on behalf of accident victims. In March 2013, Brooks was traveling along Route 113 near Bishopville when she came upon a serious accident. A female victim got out of her vehicle and collapsed on the ground with serious internal injuries.
Brooks administered emergency medical care to the young woman, who was traveling with her children and mother, all of whom were Hispanic. Brooks consoled the victim and spoke to her in Spanish until Emergency Services arrived and relayed information from the 911 dispatcher to the victim in Spanish while tending to her injuries. She also spoke to the victim’s family in Spanish, directing them to bring jackets and whatever else they could find to keep her warm because she was slipping in and out of consciousness and into shock.