Billings man reunites with paramedic who saved his life, shares - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Billings man reunites with paramedic who saved his life, shares appreciation for local EMS team

Posted: Updated:
Kently kuntz credits first responders, including Lynn Galavotti, for saving his life when he fell asleep at the wheel last November and collided with the back of a semitrailer Kently kuntz credits first responders, including Lynn Galavotti, for saving his life when he fell asleep at the wheel last November and collided with the back of a semitrailer
Kently Kuntz, 22, credits first responders for saving his life after he fell asleep at the wheel and collided with the back end of a semitrailer Kently Kuntz, 22, credits first responders for saving his life after he fell asleep at the wheel and collided with the back end of a semitrailer
Following 22 staples and 5 days in St. Vincent Healthcare, Kently Kuntz said he is back to work and even hiking after he collided his truck with the back of a semi Following 22 staples and 5 days in St. Vincent Healthcare, Kently Kuntz said he is back to work and even hiking after he collided his truck with the back of a semi

Driving was a large part of Kently Kuntz's day when he delivered sandwiches for Jimmy Johns. Now, the 22-year-old Billings man is thankful for local emergency medical responders delivering him to St. Vincent Healthcare when he fell asleep at the wheel last November and collided with the back end of a semi-truck.

"I was driving to go get my check from work," Kuntz recalled of the incident. "Everything was fine, and then the next thing I knew I was waking up in a pile of metal."

Lynn Galavotti said she was a part of the EMS team responding to the truck-versus-semi scene on Interstate 90.

"We were first on the scene because we were headed to Laurel," Galavotti said. "It was crazy, because I walked up and I didn't think anyone was going to be alive."

Galavotti said she then found Kuntz inside the truck around 5 p.m. on November 17, his body being crushed beneath the semitrailer. 

"There was serious trauma and lots of blood," Galavotti said. The paramedic said she and her team immediately sprang to action to stabilize Kuntz and protect him during the removal and transport process. 

St. Vincent Healtcare's Trauma Medical Director Barry McKenzie said first responders took the first steps in saving Kuntz life. 

"He was involved in a very serious crash with high velocity speed, high force, and significant injury," McKenzie said. "I always think of trauma care as a team aspect, and first responders are the start of the team."

Galavotti said it took about 40 minutes to get Kuntz from beneath the weight of the semi and transport him to the nearby hospital where he was treated for four compromised organs and other injuries that would have claimed the 22-year-old's life had responders not acted quickly. 

After 22 staples and 5 days in the hospital, Kuntz emerged from St. Vincent Healthcare alive and with a new appreciation for EMS responders. 

"I wouldn't be here if they weren't there," Kuntz said. "If they weren't able to cut me out, if they weren't able to do medical stuff to me in the field...there's no way I would have made it. I'm very thankful."

"Watching someone walk out of the hospital after they've been in a serious injury or you did CPR to bring them back, that's why we do our job," Galavotti said, expressing joy to see Kuntz smiling and returning to life as usual before his near-fatal collision. 

As March 21-27 marks EMS Week, KULR-8 News would also like to show our appreciation for local emergency medical responders who work to protect and save the lives of the people of our community. 

Hear Kuntz share his story and watch his reunion with the paramedic he credits for saving his life on the KULR-8 News at 10.

  • LocalMore>>

  • Yellowstone County flood warning: Pilot discusses potential damage and current flood stage

    Yellowstone County flood warning: Pilot discusses potential damage

    Saturday, May 26 2018 1:21 AM EDT2018-05-26 05:21:06 GMT

    The Yellowstone River is expected to rise due to the combination of snow melt and rainfall within the next few days. Gary Blaine flew in his Bell Jet Ranger helicopter and observed the current levels of the Yellowstone River at 12.5 feet and discussed the potential damage the river could have at the forecasted 15-16 feet.

    The Yellowstone River is expected to rise due to the combination of snow melt and rainfall within the next few days. Gary Blaine flew in his Bell Jet Ranger helicopter and observed the current levels of the Yellowstone River at 12.5 feet and discussed the potential damage the river could have at the forecasted 15-16 feet.

  • Public Works Department prepares for flooding within the city

    Public Works Department prepares for flooding within the city

    Saturday, May 26 2018 12:39 AM EDT2018-05-26 04:39:28 GMT

    Preparations are underway for the city of Billings because of the expected flooding.

    Preparations are underway for the city of Billings because of the expected flooding.

  • Railroad Services Company Prepping for Floodwaters

    Railroad Services Company Prepping for Floodwaters

    Friday, May 25 2018 8:57 PM EDT2018-05-26 00:57:53 GMT

    The entrance to Riverside Park in Laurel is blocked off to the public because of expected flooding the area. However, just because floodwaters are expected, does not mean companies in the area stop working.

    The entrance to Riverside Park in Laurel is blocked off to the public because of expected flooding the area. However, just because floodwaters are expected, does not mean companies in the area stop working.

  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Wolf-like animal killed near Denton

    Wolf-like animal killed near Denton

    Thursday, May 24 2018 7:12 PM EDT2018-05-24 23:12:04 GMT
    Image Courtesy KXLOImage Courtesy KXLO

    DENTON - One family in Denton said they called Fish Wildlife and Parks after they shot what appeared to be a wolf on their ranch.   According to KXLO in Lewistown, game wardens came out to pick the animal up and sent pictures of it to a wolf specialist in Great Falls.  

    DENTON - One family in Denton said they called Fish Wildlife and Parks after they shot what appeared to be a wolf on their ranch.   According to KXLO in Lewistown, game wardens came out to pick the animal up and sent pictures of it to a wolf specialist in Great Falls.  

  • Yellowstone County flood warning: Pilot discusses potential damage and current flood stage

    Yellowstone County flood warning: Pilot discusses potential damage

    Saturday, May 26 2018 1:21 AM EDT2018-05-26 05:21:06 GMT

    The Yellowstone River is expected to rise due to the combination of snow melt and rainfall within the next few days. Gary Blaine flew in his Bell Jet Ranger helicopter and observed the current levels of the Yellowstone River at 12.5 feet and discussed the potential damage the river could have at the forecasted 15-16 feet.

    The Yellowstone River is expected to rise due to the combination of snow melt and rainfall within the next few days. Gary Blaine flew in his Bell Jet Ranger helicopter and observed the current levels of the Yellowstone River at 12.5 feet and discussed the potential damage the river could have at the forecasted 15-16 feet.

  • Wolf-like animal stumps experts

    Wolf-like animal stumps experts

    Friday, May 25 2018 12:53 PM EDT2018-05-25 16:53:34 GMT

    It may be another week before we know exactly what type of animal was killed by a rancher near Denton last week. 

    It may be another week before we know exactly what type of animal was killed by a rancher near Denton last week. 

  • Idaho town warned not to drink water after man found dead

    Idaho town warned not to drink water after man found dead

    Friday, May 25 2018 12:11 PM EDT2018-05-25 16:11:42 GMT

    DIETRICH, Idaho (AP) - Residents of an Idaho town have been told not to drink the water after a fired municipal worker was found dead in his home by emergency workers who were hospitalized after entering the residence. Dietrich Mayor Don Heiken says 62-year-old Tom Young was found dead Thursday. Heiken fired Young earlier this month. Heiken says there's concern Young contaminated the drinking water well serving the community of 300.

    DIETRICH, Idaho (AP) - Residents of an Idaho town have been told not to drink the water after a fired municipal worker was found dead in his home by emergency workers who were hospitalized after entering the residence. Dietrich Mayor Don Heiken says 62-year-old Tom Young was found dead Thursday. Heiken fired Young earlier this month. Heiken says there's concern Young contaminated the drinking water well serving the community of 300.

  • Search turns to recovery for 4 men missing after Selway River car crash

    Search turns to recovery for 4 men missing after Selway River car crash

    Friday, May 25 2018 6:49 PM EDT2018-05-25 22:49:49 GMT

    The Idaho County Sheriff said on Friday that the search for four men, who went missing after the vehicle crashed into a river near the Montana-Idaho border, has turned from a rescue to a recovery. The crash happened Monday morning on the Upper Selway River, which is about 60 miles west of Darby.

    The Idaho County Sheriff said on Friday that the search for four men, who went missing after the vehicle crashed into a river near the Montana-Idaho border, has turned from a rescue to a recovery. The crash happened Monday morning on the Upper Selway River, which is about 60 miles west of Darby.

  • Public Works Department prepares for flooding within the city

    Public Works Department prepares for flooding within the city

    Saturday, May 26 2018 12:39 AM EDT2018-05-26 04:39:28 GMT

    Preparations are underway for the city of Billings because of the expected flooding.

    Preparations are underway for the city of Billings because of the expected flooding.

  • Montana school bus provider accused of dealing meth

    Montana school bus provider accused of dealing meth

    Friday, May 25 2018 6:01 PM EDT2018-05-25 22:01:11 GMT

    The man entrusted with providing school bus service to students in St. Ignatius was arrested Thursday on drug charges. 

    The man entrusted with providing school bus service to students in St. Ignatius was arrested Thursday on drug charges. 

  • Beartooth Highway Open to State Line in Montana

    Beartooth Highway Open to State Line in Montana

    Friday, May 25 2018 11:09 AM EDT2018-05-25 15:09:06 GMT

    The Montana Department of Transportation has announced that The Beartooth Highway is now open from Red Lodge to the state line for the season.

    The Wyoming side remains closed for now but the National Park Service expects to have Wyoming side open on June 1st.

    The Montana Department of Transportation has announced that The Beartooth Highway is now open from Red Lodge to the state line for the season.

    The Wyoming side remains closed for now but the National Park Service expects to have Wyoming side open on June 1st.