Men hailed as heroes for saving woman trapped by van

MARYSVILLE – The men lifted the van off the woman and pulled her free. One held her hand. Others used a belt to slow the bleeding from her leg. One man prayed.

They cleaned the dirt from her mouth and tried to comfort her.

They worried for her as a helicopter whisked the Marysville woman away to a Seattle hospital.

They are heroes.

“They saved that young woman’s life,” Marysville police Cmdr. Ralph Krusey said. “They said they did what anyone would do. By golly, that’s what makes them heroes.”

The woman, 18, and two men, 19 and 22, were struck by a floral delivery van Wednesday as they waited at a bus stop, police said.

The woman was in critical condition Thursday at Harborview Medical Center, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

The woman’s father told police she was improving, but she remained in the hospital’s intensive care unit, Krusey said.

Police didn’t know the condition of the two men. Their injuries were not thought to be life-threatening at the time they were taken to an Everett hospital, Krusey said.

The cause of the crash remained under investigation Thursday.

Marysville police impounded the City Floral van and were obtaining a warrant to search the vehicle, Krusey said.

The Washington State Patrol’s accident investigators were asked to inspect the van to try to determine if there was a mechanical problem, Krusey said.

The driver, a 68-year-old Everett man, told police he was in the Dairy Queen drive-through when the accelerator pedal got stuck.

The van jumped a curb and went down a slight embankment and into oncoming traffic on Fourth Street. The van swerved back onto the sidewalk, where it struck the pedestrians, Krusey said.

The impact knocked down the bus stop and a tree.

Several people who witnessed the crash raced to help the victims. At least three men heaved the van off the trapped woman.

Richard Packard of Oak Harbor was one of those Good Samaritans. He had been going through the drive-through with his daughter when the accident occurred. She called 911 while he went to help.

It was clear the woman’s leg was badly injured and she was losing a lot of blood, he said.

He held her hand and tried to divert her attention from her leg. His belt was used by another rescuer as the tourniquet.

A man who introduced himself only as Pastor Dan joined the rescue effort and offered a prayer.

“She was aware of what he was doing and said, ‘Amen,’ at the end,” Packard said.

The woman’s father told police he was thankful for the actions of a few strangers.

“The family was very grateful,” Krusey said. “We live in a great society full of people who are willing to lend a helping hand.”

Reporter Eric Stevick contributed to this report.

Reporter Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463 or

Police are asking anyone who witnessed the accident about 3:15 p.m. Wednesday near Fourth Street and Stave Avenue in Marysville to call them at 360-363-8300.

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