Game Warden Saves Trapped Man

One day he’s taking out a massive poaching ring that’s depressed deer populations east of Springfield, the next he’s saving a man whose head is trapped against a truck tire like a wheel chock.

Whether it’s a case of divine intervention or just a knack for “being in the right place at the right time” — which did lead to his being named Oregon’s 2008 fish and wildlife officer of the year — it’s amazing how OSP trooper Marc Boyd and Myrtle Creek, Ore., resident Mike Martin crossed paths against all odds last Friday night.

OREGON STATE POLICE OFFICER MARC BOYD ACCEPTING THE AWARD FOR 2008 FISH AND WILDLIFE TROOPER OF THE YEAR. (OSP)

To quote at length from today’s Eugene Register-Guard:

For at least 20 minutes on Friday night, Mike Martin of Myrtle Creek tried desperately to catch the attention of passing motorists on Row River Road, south of Dorena Lake.

It’s quite difficult, he found, to get anybody to notice you waving an arm when it’s dark outside, you’re in an unlit driveway and your head is wedged underneath the front tire of a Chevy pickup.

“I had one side of my face completely shoved into the gravel the whole time,” Martin recalled. “I thought I was going to lay there and die in the dark.”

But Martin survived after his attempt to inspect a mechanical problem went horribly wrong, thanks to what he can describe only as “a miracle” that arrived in the form of Oregon State Police Trooper Marc Boyd.

The trooper offered a similarly supernatural explanation for how he ended up in a position to help save Martin’s life.

“I’m not a religious man, but it was like divine intervention, because I shouldn’t even have been down there in the first place,” Boyd said.

State police don’t normally patrol the Dorena Lake area southeast of Cottage Grove. But the agency obtained federal grant money to keep an eye on recreation sites around the reservoir, and that’s why Boyd was there on Friday night.

Boyd said that just before 9 p.m. he spotted a car swerving in a lane. Rather than continue around the lake, Boyd decided to follow it onto Row River Road.

Moments later, he saw — or sensed — something unusual in a driveway about 12 feet off the road.

“I must have caught a glimpse of something,” Boyd said. “I thought to myself, ‘What did I just see?’ So I backed up and there (Martin) is with his head stuck underneath his (pickup).”

For the rest of this story, go here.

Here’s OSP’s press release on the incident:

A Dorena-area man is crediting the help he received from an Oregon State Police (OSP) Fish & Wildlife Division trooper and some citizens for saving his life Friday night.  MIKE D. MARTIN, age 58, was seriously injured and treated at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend after his head became trapped underneath the wheel of a pickup in his driveway until the trooper found him and worked with others to free him.

On July 22, 2011 at approximately 9:00 p.m. OSP Trooper Marc Boyd was working overtime patrolling in the Dorena area checking US Army Corps of Engineers parks and recreation sites.  Boyd was driving an OSP pickup eastbound in the 37000 block of Row River Road following a vehicle he was preparing to stop when he thought he saw something unusual out of the corner of his eye.  Boyd stopped and backed up, and in the darkness he saw a pickup about 12 feet from the road in a driveway with a man’s body lying on the ground next to the front driver side wheel.

After Boyd got out and approached the pickup, MARTIN said he needed help because his head was trapped under the wheel after it rolled backward while he was looking underneath it.  MARTIN was conscious, in obvious pain and in need of rescue as soon as possible.  He was home alone and said he tried unsuccessfully in the dark for about 20 minutes to get the attention of other passing motorists before Boyd stopped.

Blocking the highway with the OSP pickup, Boyd got help from at least two other people, identified as George Swain from Dorena and Stan Severe from Junction City, who stopped because the road was blocked.

Boyd attached a tow strap to the OSP pickup and gently moved MARTIN’s pickup about a foot away from his head.  Swain and Severe helped steady the tow strap while monitoring MARTIN’s position on the ground.  After pulling the pickup away, Swain got in and kept his foot on the brake for about 30 minutes to keep it from rolling again.

Boyd notified OSP dispatch of the situation, requested medical and LifeFlight response and started initial emergency medical care.  South Lane County Fire & Rescue and LifeFlight both responded to the scene and took over before LifeFlight transported MARTIN to Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend.  He he had surgery for several hours Friday night and was reportedly discharged from the hospital on Sunday.

Boyd was also 2008 Shikar-Safari Club International game warden of the year for Oregon and was part of 2010’s OSP’s team of the year.

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