Navy lieutenant leaps to aid woman hurt in rollover on the Mass Pike

By JORDAN GRAHAM | Boston Herald | Published: December 24, 2017

(Tribune News Service) — A Navy lieutenant and ROTC instructor sprang into action yesterday to help an injured woman who had just crawled out of her crumpled vehicle following a violent rollover crash on the Mass Pike in Wayland — one of dozens of accidents blamed on icy roadways across the Bay State.

Josh Roaf, who was driving into Boston with his father just before 9 a.m., said he knew right away that whoever was in the car was going to need some help.

“Her car had flipped. It was missing tires — it was pretty bad,” Roaf told the Herald. “It had just happened.”

Roaf, 30, of Bennington, Vt., said the silver sedan came to rest on its side and he could see the driver sitting on the ground, surrounded by other motorists.

After making his way through the rain and ice to make sure no one else was trapped in the car, Roaf said he turned his attention to the injured driver, who other good Samaritans were sheltering with an umbrella.

“She was pretty shaken up at first. As you can imagine, anybody in that kind of situation would be,” Roaf said. “She was just not with it, very scatter-minded, really worried about a lot of different things.”

Roaf said the woman became worried about her daughter and kept saying she needed to call her mother. Realizing she was probably in shock, Road said he tried to calm her down by asking what kind of job she has — she told him she’s a gymnastics instructor — and about her family.

When the woman said she hurt her shoulder, Roaf — trained in first aid and CPR — got out a first aid kit.

“I basically cradled and slung her arm, and then tried keeping her extremities warm,” he said. “Very basic first aid things.”

While waiting for paramedics to arrive, Roaf said he wrapped the woman in a Red Sox blanket and gave her a pair of gloves to keep warm.

The woman was later transported to a nearby hospital to be treated for injuries sustained in the crash, according to the Weston Fire Department, which responded to the rollover.

Roaf, an active duty surface warfare officer and an ROTC instructor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said he just happened to be in the right place at the right time after deciding at the last minute to ride along with his father when he went to work in Boston.

“It just seemed like the right thing to do,” Roaf said. “I was just amazed at how many people did stop” to lend a hand.

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