‘I saw two bodies;’ witness runs to help children hit while sledding

HENRICO COUNTY, Va - Local nurse Laura Girard was driving behind an SUV on Twin Hickory Lake Drive when it lost control, jumped a median, and tumbled down a hill near the Gardens apartment complex.  When she pulled over to see if she could help with what looked to be a bad wreck, Girard had no idea the SUV had struck two children who were sledding.

"That's the scariest thing in 20 years I've ever experienced," she said.  "The first thing I saw just two bodies laying in the snow and the parents were really frantic, so of course we all tried to calm each other down."

Henrico Police said around 5:40 p.m. on Saturday, the SUV lost control and flipped down the hill just off the 4800 block of Twin Hickory Lake Drive.  A group of children were sledding on the hill, and residents said the area is a well known sledding spot.  The two children who were struck were transported to VCU Medical Center with serious injuries, according to police.

Local nurse Laura Girard

Girard said she did what she could to make sure the two victims were still breathing since she did not have nursing supplies with her at the time of the wreck.  She helped call 911 and stayed with the children until the ambulance arrived.

"The 911 operator said, 'Do you have any gauze?' I said no I have nothing. I had nothing, I felt horrible," Girard said.

The driver of the SUV, a young man, emerged from the side of the vehicle shortly after Girard arrived on scene.  He was not badly injured, she said, but was visibly distraught.

"He was really frantic. He was beside himself. 'Did I kill them? Did I kill them?' I said no, no. They're breathing, they are alive. I just felt so bad for him," the nurse said.

Twin Hickory sledding accident

Monday, Henrico Police said the crash team is still reviewing the details of the crash.

So far, the driver has not been charged, and police said there is no timetable for when or if that will happen.  Police could not provide an update on the health status of the two young victims, who sources said were 12 and 9 years old.

A friend of the victim's family reached out to Girard shortly after the incident.  She said the person told her the children were stable.  The veteran nurse said the moment was the scariest thing she has ever seen, but urged everyone to stop and help during an emergency even if you do not have specialized training.

"Just get out and do something, helps somebody. That's all," she said.