Off-duty EMS worker jumps into action

Posted By | December 17, 2009 12:00 am

Whiteaker (left) with his partner, Jerry Fowler and Jackson Butcher (middle) poses with the paramedic partners, who had helped him after an Oct. 2007 vehicle crash, which killed Butcher’s friend, Jeff Griffin.

Damage. This Jeep, belonging to Whiteaker, shows the damage inflicted in the Dec. 11 crash on Memorial Highway.

Lucky to be alive. The driver of this vehicle, Jennifer Willard, of Sparta, was severely injured in a crash Dec. 11. Off-duty paramedic Nathan Whiteaker was the driver of the other vehicle involved. He applied direct pressure on Willard’s neck wound until his on-duty co-workers arrived.

“Don’t credit me for being a hero; credit my co-workers cause they are awesome,” said Nathan Whiteaker, a paramedic with White County Emergency Medical Services. “I was just off-duty, doing my job.”
Whiteaker was referring to a two-vehicle crash in which he was involved, at approximately 7:15 a.m., on Dec. 11.
Whiteaker was traveling on Memorial Highway to Warren County to attend a class to enhance his education as a paramedic.
He stated, as he neared the intersection of Old Rock Island Road, a vehicle pulled out in front of him.
“For whatever reason, she pulled out and I didn’t have anywhere to go,” stated Whiteaker. “I was trying to stop and steer to avoid her but, that close, you just really don’t have reaction time.”
The other driver, Jennifer Willard, 35, of Sparta, was reportedly traveling with her two children, an 11-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy.
Whiteaker ‘t-boned’ Willard’s vehicle in the driver’s side.
“As I was sliding to a stop, I noticed that she was partially ejected,” said Whiteaker. “From the waist up, she was hanging out of the vehicle.”
He said Willard was bleeding badly and, because of his EMS training, he recognized the seriousness and was able to apply pressure to the wound on her neck to stop the arterial bleeding.
Whiteaker kept pressure on the wound until emergency workers arrived and took control of the scene.
Willard was reportedly flown by helicopter to a hospital in Chattanooga. According to unofficial reports, she is unable to speak yet, but is back at home recuperating.
Whiteaker states he was uninjured in the incident.
He calls himself an “everyday man” and believes anyone would have done the same thing if they were in his shoes.
He continues to credit his co-workers, some of whom arrived on scene to assist; White County dispatcher Janet Musich, who he says did a “super job, as do all of the dispatchers;” and all the other emergency workers who helped keep this from becoming a tragic event.
“I hate to see anyone suffer,” stated Whiteaker. “That’s why I do my job. And that’s why my co-workers do it, too. They’re the ones you should be talking to.”
Whiteaker said the people of White County are lucky to have these individuals standing by to help them in their time of need.

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