Thalia Rodriguez, 17, was the first at the scene of a motorcycle crash. Now, the high school senior is being credited with saving a police officer’s life.
Rodriquez was driving when she saw a bleeding man lying next to a crashed motorcycle on the side of the road. She immediately pulled over and jumped into action.
Luckily, the teenager knew exactly what to do since she had taken EKG and first responder classes as part of Westland Hialeah High’s Health Science magnet program. She was prepared for this moment.
“I knew I couldn’t panic,” she told the Miami Herald. “At that point it was only him, only save him, buy him time. Everything else in such a scenario is all a blur except for what you’re focused on.”
With her training, she was able to check the man’s vitals. Unfortunately, he was unresponsive.
Rodriguez saw that he was bleeding profusely from his lower body and was worried for his life. The man had lost his left leg in the crash and his right was also severely hurt.
A few minutes, another passing driver pulled over. The woman, Vianca Diaz, happened to be a nurse and also rushed over to help. Rodriguez asked Diaz if she had anything they could use for a tourniquet, and they used a belt the woman provided on the man’s leg.
“From there, all we could do was wait until the medical service got there,” Rodriguez said. From there, the injured man was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
That’s when the man’s identity was discovered. It turned out that he was Miami-Dade Police Maj. Ricky Carter, a 21-year veteran police officer.
Fire fighters and first responders were incredibly impressed with Rodriguez’s actions and have credited her with saving Carter’s life. “I was rather impressed with the first aid skills, of course, but I was more impressed with her grace under pressure,” said City of Hialeah Fire Department Lieutenant Luis Espinosa and the teenager’s emergency medical responder teacher.
Rodriguez has since received a well-deserved “Superintendent Certificate of Achievement” from Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho as well as a $100 gift certificate. The surprise recognition and high praise made the young woman tear up.
“You are the definition of courage under Fire. You are courageous, selfless and are skilled and don’t ask permission to do the right thing. I think you are a wonderful example of what young people should be,” the superintendent told her.
“Thank you,” she responded. Her focus was still on Carter, however, and expressed a desire to meet him someday. She said she was going to donate blood in his honor.