South Korean family thankful to Marines for help after car crash
November 19, 2006
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — A woman involved in a high-speed car crash Nov. 4 on a highway in southeast South Korea said Friday that she was overwhelmingly thankful to two Marines who cared for her and her family at the scene.
Hwang Jung-a, 35, said she was traveling with her parents, children and husband in a small car when a gray sports car smashed them into the side of a tunnel on I-20 in North Pohang.
Marine Capt. John Graham and Cpl. Joshua Frazier stopped a few minutes later and administered first aid until an ambulance arrived an hour later.
“My mom witnessed the whole thing,” Hwang said. “She said to me how touched she was by their heart and their brave behavior. I cannot thank them enough, too.”
Hwang was suffering from shock and at the brink of losing consciousness several times, Graham said in a Stripes interview Wednesday.
She and the rest of her family were taken to a Pohang hospital. They later were taken to a Chinhae hospital, where Hwang and three other family members remain. They suffered broken bones, gashes and concussions but all of their injuries are non-critical, Hwang said.
“We’d like to meet them in person to give them our thanks as we get recovered,” Hwang said.
Unbeknownst to the two Marines, Hwang’s husband is a South Korean naval officer at Chinhae Naval Base. He had returned from a six-month military course in the United States a few days before the crash, Hwang said.
Graham and Frazier, both combat veterans who have administered first aid to crash victims before, downplayed their actions as simply doing the right thing.
However, Hwang noted that the two Marines stopped when many other people did not on that day.
South Korean Highway Patrol members also said they appreciated the Marines’ actions.
“We thank them for taking appropriate and immediate measures in the strained situation and for their great care to the victims,” Sgt. Se Jun-muk said.
The two Marines said they also took down the license plate of a third car, in which the gray sports car’s driver fled the scene.
The driver turned himself in to police three hours after the incident, Se said.