PETERSBURG, Va. -- Members of a local emergency crew voluntarily went to Charlottesville to help during the “Unite the Right” rally. They ended up providing aid to victims who were hurt when police said a man deliberately drove his car into a group of protesters.
Paramedic Jeff Sweeney, along with two other EMT's from Southside Virginia Emergency Crew, were standing by in Charlottesville, just in case.
"The radio told us there was a car that had crashed into a car and into a group of people" said Sweeney.
After hearing the call, Sweeney said it took less than four minutes for SVEC's Medic 6 to arrive on scene.
"Lot of screaming and hollering" is what Sweeney heard as he climbed out of the medic unit.
He and one EMT quickly found themselves with their patient who was in critical condition.
"Long bone fracture, she was hit by a car in the frontal part of her body, knocked to the ground," he said.
With the other EMT waiting in the driver's seat, the pair found their second patient, who was listed in serious condition.
"He lost consciousness several times, he was scraped up and banged up but he didn't have any fractures," recalled Sweeney.
He said their third patient was already in the back of their unit being attended to by two other EMT's.
Improvising, the three patients and four providers made their way to UVA Medical Center.
Bubby Bish, who heads up Southside Virginia Emergency Crew, said he always sends a three-person crew when requested to head out-of-town, with the driver always staying with the medic unit.
Bish, with decades of emergency medical experience, understands first hand the need for regional cooperation.
"One thing I think it shows, that we're in this together," he said.
Bish said he knows the next time there is a request it will be for even more emergency medical personnel.
"We know there will be other protests in the Commonwealth and we already are working on that to go get additional units, more than the one this time," said Bish.
He added that regional cooperation and extensive training for mass casualty incidents is key to providing successful care.