After spending seven days on a storm response assignment in Santa Cruz, two IBEW members working for Underground Electric Construction Company were en route back to Dixon when they came across a single-vehicle accident on Interstate 80 near Vacaville. A Subaru sedan appeared to have made head-on contact with the concrete barrier. The car had severe front-end damage, and was partially encroaching a lane on the interstate, in addition to blocking the entire shoulder. The impact was severe enough that the driver was unable to exit the vehicle.
Upon arriving at the scene, the crew took quick action. They switched on the flashing lights on their work trucks to provide makeshift traffic control for the lane that the damaged car had encroached into, in order to prevent any more vehicles travelling at highway speed from becoming involved in the wreck. Their quick thinking worked, and slowed the normally bustling traffic to a crawl, allowing other cars to navigate safely around the accident.
Then, the crew noticed that the vehicle had smoke coming from the engine compartment, so IBEW 1245 Groundman Stephen Dungan made the swift decision to grab the fire extinguisher from his truck and put the engine fire out immediately. While Dungan was tending to the fire, Foreman Matt Greene, an IBEW traveling lineman from Local 953, made contact with the driver. By this time, another good Samaritan had also stopped to offer help, and Greene directed them to call 911, while he stayed with the driver, who was in critical condition. The crew remained on the scene and continued to assist in any way that they could, even after emergency services had arrived.
In a gracious email to the Underground Electric Construction team, the City of Vacaville Battalion Chief stated, “These actions most likely saved the driver’s life.”
These members made a lasting impact on the community in which we serve, outside of the work they perform day in and day out. Thank you for your selflessness, brothers!
-Ethan Stonecipher, IBEW 1245 Business Rep