CLOVIS, Calif. – Combat action in Iraq and Afghanistan prepared a Clovis resident and U.S. Marine to save a critically-injured crash victim after he witnessed a collision on Highway 41 May 6.
At around 2:00 p.m., Sgt. Robert J. Blundell, a Marine recruiter and infantryman, was driving northbound to Clovis from Naval Air Station Lemoore. He watched a van execute a u-turn and strike another vehicle, causing it to roll over about 250 yards in front of him.
Blundell pulled over, and his Marine Corps training kicked in. He found the van’s windshield splintered. He said he didn’t expect to find anyone alive. Wearing his combat utility uniform and boots, Blundell kicked in the windshield and used his uniform blouse to peel the glass out. There he found a man with severe injuries to his head, face and neck.
He rescued the victim through the front windshield, moved him from danger and immediately began using the combat lifesaving medical skills he used countless times overseas. He gave the victim water, inspected him for injuries, provided treatment for shock, and treated the wounds.
Other good Samaritans arrived on scene. Blundell then instructed one woman to call 911, and another to monitor and prevent the victim from losing consciousness again. Blundell also briefed first responders from the California Highway Patrol and emergency medical services.
Blundell, who deployed three times to Iraq and once to Afghanistan, said his Marine Corps training and education, and extensive combat experience helped him stay calm, prioritize needs and coordinate the rescue efforts.