Four military police officers, members of the U.S. Army's Old Guard, helped to save the life of a fellow runner struck and injured by a Metrobus along the National Mall Wednesday morning.
Lt. Quenten Vereen, Sgts. Brian Williams and John Russell and Specialist Chris Slane were in the middle of a nine-mile run when they heard a strange sound.
"It was actually a loud thud," Lt. Vereen says. "I heard a thud and I looked up and saw the bus as it passed by."
There, lying in the middle of 7th Street NW, was a man in a t-shirt and sneakers.
"Initially, he was in the fetal position and he wasn't moving," Sgt. Russell told us near the spot where the accident happened. "So, of course, you think the worst."
But he was alive.
"As soon as it happened," Vereen says, "pretty much everyone just took off on a dead sprint towards the individual because we wanted to try to get him assistance as fast as possible."
"We're apprehensive about turning him over," says Russell. "We didn't know if there was a neck injury or spinal injury. But there was a lot of blood on the ground and we had to check him out."
So they pulled the man out of the street, knowing they needed to stop the bleeding.
"I looked around for somebody that was close by and there was a jogger who just happened to be right there. And I said 'can I have your shirt.' He said 'absolutely,'" Russell explained.
"And we just pretty much tied the shirt around his leg and since we didn't have any sticks or any type of poles, to fashion an actual tourniquet, we just pulled against him to build the tension between me and Sgt. Russell and held onto it until paramedics arrived," Williams told us.
Williams and Russell are war veterans who'd attended to some gruesome injuries on the battlefield.
"Your first priority, regardless of whether it's in America or in Iraq or Afghanistan is to help people," says Russell.
Members of the Army's Old Guard assist with funerals at Arlington National Cemetery and stand guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
"I'm just grateful that we were all here when it happened," says Specialist Slane. "We were lucky that we were here."
And so was the man they helped, believed to be a federal worker named "Tim." That's all they know.
"Wherever Tim is," says Lt. Vereen, "I wish him well. Hopefully he gets better soon and whenever he gets better, I hope we can touch bases and go out for a jog together sometime."
DC police say it appears the runner was at fault. Officials say the Metrobus had a green light.
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