By TIMOTHY COX firstname.lastname@example.org
Members of the Celina High School cross country team found themselves
at the scene of a head-on collision along U.S. 30 during the
past weekend, and intervened to help save a man’s life.
The group of about 30 students — boys and girls —
had left Celina about 5 a.m. They were traveling east on U.S.
30, not far from I-75 near Beaverdam, when a car attempting
to pass the school bus collided head-on with a westbound tractor
Bus driver Sue Barga brought the bus to a safe stop and then
members of the cross country team went to work.
Coach Lore Long was the first one out of the bus to assess the
“It was dark and hard to see. The driver was unconscious
at first but the truck driver was OK,” Long wrote in a
letter explaining the scene to parents of the young runners.
“Fluid was dripping from the vehicle, and a fire had started
on the passenger side of the vehicle.”
Cross country runners Ryan Bellman and Brittany Wenning then
responded with the medical trainer’s bag and rubber gloves.
Another student, Phil Denning, grabbed a fire extinguisher off
the bus and doused the flames.
Bellman, Wenning and coach Long tried to free the driver from
“There was a lot of blood. He was gurgling and burping
blood from his mouth ... We thought he punctured a lung ...
He was in shock,” Long said.
The coach and her team wiped blood from the driver and attempted
to talk to him. Long said the driver at times was coherent,
at one point telling them his name was “Kevin.”
Long said she has been unable to determine the driver’s
The Daily Standard learned this morning that the driver of the
car was Kevin Rudy, 26, Findlay, who remained in the intensive
care unit at St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo. No other
information about Rudy was available.
The driver of the tractor trailer, Al Warren, Fond du Lac, Wis.,
was not seriously injured.
As Long and two of her runners worked to keep Rudy conscious,
other problems were developing. Apparently the crash occurred
in an area of rural Hancock County on the fringe of territory
worked by two different volunteer squads. There was some confusion
and emergency squads were delayed in reaching the scene.
Finally, runner Cory Krites was sent down the highway to find
a mile marker that could be relayed to the squads to help them
find the accident in the early morning light.
Long credits training that she and Bellman and Wenning received
at Celina High School for their ability to react to an emergency
in a calm, controlled manner. All three have taken Mick Gabes’
applied physiology class, which gave them the first-aid skills
they used to keep Rudy alive.
After Rudy was freed from the wreckage, he was transported by
helicopter from the accident scene to Toledo.
There were about 30 students on the bus at the time of the accident,
but Long said only the bus driver and maybe one or two other
students actually witnessed the crash.
Long credited Barga and her team for their response.
“If the semi driver hadn’t slowed down and if he
had swerved, we would have had the head-on collision with the
truck,” Long wrote in her letter to parents. “If
Phil hadn’t put out the fire, there would have been an
explosion right in front of the bus and the man would have burned
alive. If Ryan and Brittany would not have come up with the
gloves and bag, I would not have touched the guy. If we hadn’t
held his head, he would have choked to death on his own blood.
If we hadn’t treated him for shock, he would have died
at the scene. If Cory hadn’t run to the mile marker, the
squad would have never found us.”
It has been a strange year for the Celina cross country team
so far. They haven’t completed a meet yet. After Saturday’s
drama, they turned around and came home. Another meet was called
off because of a flood-damaged course and another was halted
midway through because of a tornado warning.
None of that matters to Long, though.
“When you go to a meet, you’re trying to do the
best you can to work together as a team,” Long said this
morning. “They did that Saturday. They performed to the
best of their abilities.”