Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Good Samaritans step in


GOOD SAMARITANS — Heather Goodwin and her husband Michael, center, with friend Matt Hall, stand on the porch of a residence near the scene of the vehicle accident involving a mother and young child on Sly Park Road in Pollock Pines. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins

The June 25 Placerville City Council meeting got a touch emotional and it had nothing to do with dog owners or roundabouts. Three individuals were recognized for their efforts on behalf of a young mother and her child who had been involved in a single car accident on Sly Park Road in Pollock Pines on June 5.

Heather Goodwin, 35, was looking out of the living room window of her home which faces Sly Park Road when she saw a southbound Honda Acura veer onto the dirt shoulder of the road in front of her house, veer across the road, hit a cedar tree and flip, landing upside down in the northbound lane of oncoming traffic. “Watching her car was like slow motion,” said Heather.

She began yelling for her husband, Michael, to call 9-1-1 even as she realized she was holding the phone. Michael Goodwin, 39, and a family friend, Matt Hall, 29, raced out of the house toward the car as Heather called 9-1-1.

“I was thinking there might be kids in the car,” said Michael. He looked inside and saw a baby strapped into his car seat in the back and was able to open the passenger door to unstrap the child.

Hall opened the rear driver side door and together they got the child, 2-year-old Degan, out of the car and handed him to Heather.

The driver, Ashley Martin, was bleeding from a head wound and still belted into her seat. “She was having a seizure, so we undid the seat belt and laid her out on the roof, ” said Michael.

In the meantime, Heather, holding Degan, had run down the road and planted herself in the middle to stop traffic. “This is a very busy street and I couldn’t believe how fast cars were still coming even after the paramedics got here, “said Heather. “It was scary standing out there, but I couldn’t let them hit her.”

Michael Goodwin and Hall stayed with Martin until the paramedics arrived. “She stopped having the seizure, but she was unresponsive,” said Hall. With the arrival of the emergency personnel, Heather Goodwin handed the child to a neighbor to take back to the Goodwin’s house. “Ashley was bleeding pretty badly and there was a lot going on. I didn’t want him to see his mother like that.”

Paramedics transported Martin to the Safeway shopping center in Pollock Pines where she was Life-Flighted to Sutter Hospital.

It was happenstance that all three were home at 1 p.m. that Wednesday. ” Matt and I had just arrived because we were going to go fishing,” said Michael.

Heather, a software engineer, happened to be working from home that day.”A friend came over in the morning and parked at the top of our driveway,” said Heather. “I told her it wasn’t a safe place to park since there are so many accidents here and I backed her car down the driveway. About 20 minutes after she left, the accident happened. There have been three accidents on the curve in front of our house in the year since we’ve been here. One kid going about 60 mph hit a car with a family in it and his car ended up in our driveway. People drive really fast along here.”

After the accident was cleared, Hall and Michael Goodwin decided to continue their fishing excursion to Sly Park, where Goodwin continued his serendipitous day by catching a fish with a $75 reward tag.

The day after the accident, the Goodwins were surprised to see Martin and her family at the accident site. “She was pretty banged up with a cut over one eye, a black eye and an injured arm, but we thought it was going to be much worse,” said Heather.

 Martin’s family members looked familiar to the trio, but it wasn’t until Heather received a thank-you card in the mail from Ashley Martin’s family that she realized why. Martin’s father is Robinson’s Pharmacy owner Dennis Thomas and her step-mother is Placerville Mayor Wendy Thomas.

The Goodwins and Hall were invited to the June 25 City Council meeting in recognition of their involvement and received emotional appreciation from Martin’s mother and Mayor Thomas. “We are so grateful for your efforts,” said Mayor Thomas. “This is the type of community we have — where people get involved and make a difference.”

“I didn’t know what to say, ” said Heather Goodwin. “They were so heartfelt. All I could think of was to say thank you for their appreciation and I’m glad Ashley is OK.”

“We are all human beings and I think we should help each other out when things like this happen,” said Michael Goodwin.

Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.


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