Anchorage (KTUU) — Two young men out of Chugiak High School used emergency response training to try to save a woman's life after she was struck in Tuesday's accident on the Glenn Highway.
Jared Heaston, 18, was riding passenger, and his friend Matthew Davis, 17, was behind the wheel. They were returning from Wasilla, where Matthew had just bought a new camera.
“Just a normal day, just enjoying the sun, driving,” Heaston remembers. “And then we come right over the Chugiak bridge right there, traffic was at a dead stop and I knew something was wrong."
A car lost control, cutting Davis off. He swerved into the median, where he knew more cars would follow.
"So I put my foot on the gas, just floored it,” Davis said. “I went up the median, and that's when I realized that many more cars went into the ditch like I did."
He left his truck to see if he could help. He saw a mother with two young children, and checked to make sure they were okay. They were.
"And then I went back to my truck, that's when I saw somebody get struck with a vehicle and they flew about 6 feet up in the air." That somebody was 42-year-old Sarah Rodden of Palmer. "So I started sprinting, rushing down that way. It was probably about 100 yards."
Davis says he covered each step without concern for his own safety. He says his only thought was "I need to take initiative.”
“As soon as I saw it, I just jumped into action,” Davis said. “I didn't even think about it."
Davis says he received CPR training in a first-aid class his freshman year at Chugiak High School.
"I didn't realize I remembered the training until I saw it in person,” he said. “So I started doing compressions on her."
Heaston had also received emergency training as a lifeguard. He stabilized Sarah Rodden's neck in case she had a spinal injury, while Davis performed CPR.
Several minutes passed, and with each compression, less hope.
"And... I'm just... It's unfortunate what happened. It really is," Davis said.
Heaston says if it’s possible to find a silver lining in this incident, it’s that he and Matthew showed what ordinary people do to step in and help.
Davis is in touch with Sarah Rodden's family. He says he hopes they will let him pay his final respects at her funeral.
There is a GoFundMe page set up for anyone who wishes to support the family.