Local Pictures
Classified Ads
 Announce Births
Email Us
Buy A Copy
Local Links

click here to
The Daily



09-02-03: Celina team helps save life

By TIMOTHY COX tcox@dailystandard.com

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 trailer.
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 scene.
“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 the vehicle.
“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 full name.
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.”


Phone: (419)586-2371,   Fax: (419)586-6271
All content copyright 2003
The Standard Printing Company
P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822