Ashland University Student is Witness and First Responder to Horrific Car Accident

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ASHLAND, OH (03/04/2013)(readMedia)-- Christopher Hinkle, a junior at Ashland University and a Mayfield Heights resident, witnessed and was the first responder to a horrific car accident over his college winter break.

Hinkle explains he was driving with a friend to Akron during the beginning of the first bad snow/ ice storm in the area. The mild snow had melted on impact and froze to the streets and highways instantly. While everyone on the road was driving way under the speed limit, a Ford Mustang sped passed him going well above the speed limit.

As he drove on he noticed lights flashing on and off. Hinkle then realized it was a car spinning and he and his friend witnessed the side of the Mustang smashing into the guard rail. "The crash was intense enough to literally tear the car almost completely in half and throw the driver into the ditch of the median," said Hinkle.

As his friend dialed 911, Hinkle put his flashers on and ran to the car asking any questions that popped into his head. The pungent fumes of gasoline filled the air as he approached the car. He was unable to see through the window due to the amount of blood that there was, but he could tell that there was a person in the car. There was no sign of a driver, which is when he realized the driver had been thrown from the car.

The passenger door was jammed so Hinkle wrapped his elbow in his hoodie and busted out the passenger window. He then gently shook the girl in the car but there was no response. Her body was positioned half on the seat and half trapped under the dashboard. By her body position and the amount of blood, Hinkle knew that she was not okay. He checked her vitals and could not feel a pulse in her wrist or neck and her chest was not rising or falling.

As he assumed the girl was no longer living, he heard a man cry out from the ditch of the median. He then noticed the man attempting to crawl toward the car.

"I could tell he was in shock and had sustained substantial head trauma and when he would try to stand his knees would buckle back and forth, which was why he was crawling," said Hinkle.

The man repeatedly asked "I was driving, then what happened?'; "Did I kill my girlfriend?" Hinkle explains with the amount of adrenaline in the man's system he was hard to restrain from trying to get to the car. At this time a State Trooper was driving by and stopped to help. About five minutes later they could hear the ambulance sirens.

The EMS immediately dealt with the girl first, considering her condition was much worse. They could hear the paramedics say that the force of the impact had actually ripped the seat belt off the frame of the car, so all of the force was on her waist belt crushing her pelvic bone and the way she was positioned they said she had to have spinal trauma.

As they gently got the girl on the stretcher the paramedics shocked her and gave her an adrenaline shot. They were able to retrieve her vitals but they were very weak and they had to take her right away.

While Hinkle and the State Trooper were waiting with the man for the second ambulance, the man's eyes rolled back in his head and he went limp. Hinkle could barely make out a pulse and when his breathing stopped he knew he immediately needed to begin CPR. As the State Trooper grabbed a breathing mask from his car, Hinkle began chest compressions.

"We did CPR for what felt like a lifetime but was only probably two or three minutes until the guy gasped for breath and tried to sit up and push us away," said Hinkle.

As they calmed down the confused and scared man, they heard the second ambulance coming down the highway and then the EMS took over caring for the man.

Hinkle states that his thought was blank, like a tunnel vision, as he saw this accident and rushed over to help.

"I knew what I had to do and that was to help in any way that I could and that I had to be calm and confident in my ability to help," said Hinkle. "After I was contacted that the two had survived and would recover in time, I couldn't help but smile and think that because I reacted fast and knew CPR I was able to give them a second chance which they may have not had."

Hinkle is majoring at Ashland University in both supply chain management and business management, with two minors in entrepreneurship and international business. He is the son of Ronald and Anna Hinkle of Mayfield Heights. Hinkle is a 2010 graduate from Mayfield High School. Hinkle is a lifeguard at the Recreation Center on Ashland University's campus.

Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report's National Universities category for 2013, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.