"[Sue] Gage was focused enough to notice a plume of “smoke or steam” rising from the river below her, and then she noticed faint tire tracks in front of her, leading straight through a gap in the guardrail."
State Employee’s Quick Thinking Prevents Holiday Tragedy!
The road conditions were poor on December 21 when state employee Sue Gage was commuting home to Brandon from Montpelier. Ice had formed on Route 73 between Rochester and Brandon and it was just turning dark, but thankfully, Gage was focused enough to notice a plume of “smoke or steam” rising from the river below her, and then she noticed faint tire tracks in front of her, leading straight through a gap in the guardrail.
“I pulled over, peered over the guardrail and saw a truck upside down in the river,” explains Gage, who is a Tax Field Examiner III with the Tax Department. “I honked my horn several times, so that whoever was down there could hear that someone spotted them and then decided to go back to a house I had passed a bit earlier to ask them to call 911. There is no cell service up there.”
Gage then hurried back to the accident site to assist whoever was in the truck. Just then, another car came upon the accident and Gage flagged the driver down to help her.
“We started to head down to the river, but then noticed that the occupant had gotten himself out and was climbing the bank,” says Gage. “The woman I had flagged down decided to continue on her way, and I helped the truck’s driver (who was bloodied) up the embankment and into my car. Then I drove him back to the McDonnell’s house. They had called 911, so we basically just walked right in and got the guy situated in front of their wood stove. The McDonnell’s were very kind, generous and accommodating.”
While they waited for an ambulance to arrive, Gage asked the truck driver a series of important questions, just in case he went into shock, or passed out, before the ambulance arrived.
“I got some simple information from him, like whether he had any allergies, or a heart condition, or things like that,” explains Gage. “I have CPR training, but nothing beyond that.” She did add that, based on this experience, she will now be purchasing a first-aid kit to keep in her car.
Eventually, the ambulance did arrive and the injured truck driver was whisked away to receive medical treatment. The following day, Gage called the truck driver’s employer and was told that he would be fine.
“The employer was very thankful for my efforts and for the McDonnell’s assistance,” says Gage. “Jayne McDonnell called me later that day and we thanked each other, mutually deciding that we had both witnessed a ‘bit of a Christmas miracle.’”
Gage is quick to dismiss that her actions were “heroic,” preferring instead to say that she simply did what any other person would have done if faced with a similar situation.
“No hero really…just doing the human thing,” says Gage modestly. “Just happy to help if I can and pleased to have witnessed a happy ending to what could have been a real tragedy.”
Note: Congratulations on your life-saving efforts Sue! You might not consider your actions heroic, but…