ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - A drive on a sunny Labor Day turned deadly after a crash involving multiple vehicles closed down the Parks Highway for several hours. The first people to see the crash became the first emergency responders on scene.
A sergeant with Alaska State Troopers says his nearest trooper was 60 miles away from the scene of the crash when they received the emergency call. They found several good Samaritans rendering aid to the victims when they arrived.
Cierra Nicole Phillips is a dental assistant in Fairbanks with emergency response training.
"We were actually sitting in the car, and we saw the smoke from the motorcycle that was on fire,” said Phillips. “And then some guy came running to every single car asking for fire extinguishers and water, and that's when I got out."
Blaine Hartman just happened to have a first aid kit on hand.
“I was initially behind, a couple cars back,” said Hartman. “And then I went up and saw some of the accident and remembered I had some stuff in the trailer, some medical stuff.”
From applying tourniquets to praying out loud, their sincerest efforts simply weren't enough for the victims who died at the scene that day.
“I tried my best. Whether it was encouraging other people, I prayed over them out loud,” said Phillips. “I held the woman's head and that was really hard watching them cover her up knowing that they all work so hard."
“It was pretty gruesome and saddening to see,” said Hartman. “Just glad I could be there to help in any way that I could.”
To Sergeant Joel Miner with Alaska State Troopers, It's people like Hartman and Phillips who give victims in serious accidents a chance to survive.
“At times, we drive as fast as we safely can to get there to help,” said Miner. “Ultimately, it is the good Samaritans who are the ones actually saving lives."