Woman credits Missoula sheriff's deputies with saving her life - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Woman credits Missoula sheriff's deputies with saving her life

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photo: Facebook/Tanya Diaz Zimmerman photo: Facebook/Tanya Diaz Zimmerman

MISSOULA - A woman credits Missoula sheriff's deputies with saving her life after a major car crash.

Tanya Diaz Zimmerman, a mother of four, was on a trip with her family on Aug. 2 when another car crossed the median and hit her family's RV.

Her father died in the crash, but officers were able to rescue everyone else. One officer found her with her arm badly injured and bleeding out, and managed to place a tourniquet that kept her alive. She credits the deputy with saving her life and keeping her stable so her arm could be surgically reattached.

The story is recounted in a post from the Missoula County Sheriff's Office:

We wanted to pass along this incredible story of both loss and survival. On August 2nd, 2018 a westbound vehicle crossed the median on Interstate 90 and sideswiped an eastbound RV carrying eight people on a family trip. Missoula County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jason Jones was the first to arrive on scene. Rushing from his vehicle, Jones found an uninvolved individual who had come upon the crash doing CPR on one male. However, many others needed immediate medical attention.

Corporal Zach Sargent, the second to arrive, was directed to a woman in the driver seat of the RV. That woman was Tanya Diaz Zimmerman, a mother of 4. When Sargent got to Tanya, he saw a blood soaked shirt wrapped around her left arm. Once the shirt was removed, he discovered her arm was almost completely detached. Sargent knew he would need to move quickly to prevent her from bleeding out. He assessed the location of the wound and placed a tourniquet as high and tight as he could on her arm. The bleeding stopped. Knowing she was safe for the moment, they turned their attention to others who were still in need of medical assistance.

Meanwhile, Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Andrew Novak arrived on scene and took over CPR on the male who was sadly pronounced deceased soon after. Not knowing how long it would take for a medical crew to arrive, Deputy Jones applied another tourniquet on a young man’s arm who was also badly wounded. Novak and Sargent then moved over to the RV. Novak was able to gain access to the RV through a hole on the side of the camper. Once inside, Novak discovered a young girl with one foot trapped in the cabinets. Novak was able to free her limb and lowered her down to Sargent who placed her in his patrol car. Another boy was discovered inside with a broken leg, but also complaining of back pain. He and the six others were transported to local hospitals.

The following days brought some good news, after such a tragic event with the loss of Tanya’s father, the male who died at the scene. Medical staff were able to save Tanya’s arm and she will be able to make a full recovery. Everyone who was in the RV were released from the hospital and are physically healthy.

Medical staff both on-scene and at the hospital said that without the tourniquet, Tanya likely would not have survived. Tanya requested to meet the deputies who saved her life. Just days after the crash this picture was taken (From left- Sargent, Tanya, Jones). A big thanks to her for sharing her story.

This is one of many stories that unfold on our roadways. We want to take the opportunity to thank everyone who, despite the horrific nature of these scenes, buckle down and do their best to save lives. From the individual who started CPR, to the medics who transported the injured, to the staff at the hospital; we are a community of amazing folks who put training to work to save lives. Highlighting the good work of our people and others is important to do from time to time. Please send your thoughts and continued prayers to Tanya and her family.

Zimmerman posted on social media, thanking the officers:

Today I had the honor of meeting
two officers who saved my life.  
These two men were the first to the scene of our crash. Without their quick thinking, I’m learning I would not be here to post this today. There are no words. I know they have many more titles before their names, but Officer Jones and Officer Sargent, from the bottom of my heart, an eternity of thank yous.

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