Summerlin meets first responders who saved his life
Members of the Jack County Sheriff’s Office, Jacksboro Fire Department, Jacksboro EMS and AirEvac - Decatur Station gathered at the AirEvac station Thursday, Feb. 20, for a moment which they do not have often. A chance to meet a patient whose life they all banded together to save.
Jacob Summerlin, of Ponder, sustained serious injuries in a car crash Dec. 2 that left Omar Frank Pittman dead on Dec. 2. on U.S. 380 approximately 12 miles East of Jacksboro.
“I don’t remember a ton, but there was a car passing a rock truck going up a hill right after it goes from 55 to 75 past Runaway Bay,” Summerlin said. “When I got to the top it was a head-on collision going 75 and pretty much after that, I really couldn’t tell you.”
He said he shattered his ankle, broke his right tibia, fibia, had a left knee tibia plateau fracture, a collapsed lung and a hip fracture. He spent five days at John Peter Smith hospital in Fort Worth.
“When I got out, someone came up and said that the other person in the other vehicle was already deceased,” Jack County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant David Vanderkaay said. “Someone was running around yelling ‘we need a fire extinguisher, the car is going to blow up.’ So, when I got into the car with him I could tell he was a little concerned.”
He added there was gas which was leaking onto Summerlin that was making him cold.
“I kept him talking because a couple of times he closed eyes and just laid his head back and I said ‘no keep talking to me,’” Vanderkaay said. “Then I know that Dale and his partner got there. In the meantime, I was just trying to talk to him and he reached up and grabbed my hand. I was just holding his hand.”
Jacksboro Fire Department and Jacksboro EMS were soon on scene shortly after.
“As far as damage to the vehicles go, I know they were a good 100 yards apart, just about, after the impact and everything settled,” Zach Searcy said. “That’s quite a ways apart from each of other after a hit that hard at that speed.”
Jacksboro EMS’ Dale Allred said Summerlin was laying between the driver and passenger seat and Searcy added Summerlin had to be pulled out from the back door after the fire department removed the door.
“We climbed in on the side with you, started an IV and pushed a little pain medicine and slid a backboard in,” Allred said. “You said ‘let’s go’ and pushed yourself up on the backboard and we finished pulling you and loaded you up in the ambulance.”
Summerlin’s parents said they went to examine the vehicle a couple days later and were shocked at the condition of the car.
“We walked up on it and thought that’s not it, it’s another one and we’re looking for it,” Kevin Summerlin, Jacob’s father, said. “When we realized that was the one that he was in, that was, yeah, that was an experience.”
Summerlin has already returned to driving, but he said he is not nervous when he is driving, only when he is in the passenger seat because he cannot control what is going on.
“Life can be taken pretty quick, I knew that before and I know that even more now,” Summerlin said. “But, it hasn’t really changed me. I’m pretty much the same person. I just have a little limp now.”
Jacob Summerlin said having the opportunity to come back and meet those who saved his life was something special for him.
“It’s awesome that I have the ability to come back and do this and walk up those steps,” Summerlin said. “I thank every single one of y’all from the bottom heart. Y’all mean the world and keep doing what you’re doing everyday. I’m ecstatic to the meet the guys that helped me get to the hospital and have the ability to walk.”
For the full story, see the Wednesday, Feb. 26, edition of the Jacksboro Herald-Gazette.