North Carolina neighbors save 3 kids from crash, want faster emergency response
CREEDMOOR, NC (WNCN) — Neighbors heard the loud “bang” Sunday afternoon and knew something was wrong.
“I thought it was like an explosion,” Kim Mann said.
Jayni Buechler’s family swung into action after hearing the alarming noise.
“We just ran, put on shoes and ran outside,” she said.
What they heard was the sound of a car crash that happened shortly before 1 p.m. Sunday along the 600 block of Woodland Church Road in southern Granville County, just northwest of Wake forest.
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In rainy conditions, neighbors came out to find two badly damaged vehicles, including a van with several children inside.
“Everyone grabbed a kid, there were four of them,” Buechler said.
Mann added that the mother in the van was “removing the glass from (a) baby’s mouth” right after the crash.
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol confirms that soldiers responded to the wreckage with injuries Sunday afternoon. So far, investigators have provided few details about the wreckage.
Neighbors escorted the victims to a nearby house while waiting for first responders. Neighbors say those first responders took about 20 minutes to arrive.
“I’m thinking, ‘Is help coming? ‘” Mann said.
Concerns about previous response times
As Buechler rushed outside to the scene of the accident, she feared what would happen if one of the victims suffered serious injuries.
She remembers calling 911 nearly a year ago when her husband suffered a medical emergency. She said it took half an hour for an ambulance from another part of Granville County to arrive.
“(The dispatcher) said, ‘You have to start CPR or your husband won’t make it – they’re still 15 minutes away,'” Buechler recalled of that day in April 2021.
Her husband survived, but the memory of waiting – trying to keep him alive – remained etched in Buechler’s mind.
“It worries me that when something bad happens I have to be prepared,” she said.
Call for more first responders
Neighbors along this stretch of Woodland Church Road tell CBS 17 they would like to see another fire station — complete with an ambulance — closer to home.
The nearest fire station to them – and to the scene of Sunday’s accident – is nearly four miles away. But that station sits just over the county line of Wake County, and area firefighters tell CBS 17 that crews are only entering Granville County to help with some structure fire calls. .
In this case, involving an accident, Wake Forest firefighters would not be responsible for responding.
The closest fire station to the scene is the volunteer-run Brassfield Fire Department.
Brassfield Fire Chief Greg Hockaday told CBS 17 that ambulances are widely spread across Granville County.
Neighbors see this as a particular concern, given the growing population in the Wake Forest area.
“We need help,” Mann said. She predicts that more cars will mean more emergencies. “We have to fight for a south Granville County fire station with an ambulance.”
Hockaday said he would like to build an additional fire station, but finding land and funds is a challenge — not to mention staffing the station. Still, he told CBS 17, he would like to see action taken in the county to “ensure that end is covered.”
CBS 17 has reached out to Granville County officials for comment. So far we have had no news.
Despite Sunday’s horrific scene, neighbors told CBS17 they were amazed to see the efforts of good Samaritans stepping in to help the crash victims. This included grabbing tools in case they were needed to open doors, get young victims out of cars and an elderly neighbor who Mann said was directing traffic.
“We were all in survival mode,” Mann said.