Teen’s quick actions save Berkley man’s life after ORV accident

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published July 13, 2021


BERKLEY — A 23-year-old Berkley man who suffered serious injuries after crashing an off-road vehicle had his life saved thanks to the quick actions of a teenager.

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Berkley man was driving his four-wheeler ORV in Vienna Township in northern Montmorency County when he lost control and suffered life-threatening injuries July 4.

“There was severe damage to his lower leg,” said Lt. James Gorno, a conservation officer with the MDNR in Gaylord. “I’m not sure what happened to his lower leg, I don’t know if he still has it or if there were some other issues that happened, but it was in very, very bad shape.”

Based on the severity of the Berkley man’s injuries, conservation officers believed that had he not received immediate help, he might not have made it. Luckily, not too far away was a private cabin and a 14-year-old girl who came to his aid.

Gorno said the teen was the first to show up on the scene to help the man, who was suffering a “huge amount of blood loss” at the time.

“This 14-year-old girl ran back to the camp, got water and a belt and applied a tourniquet to his upper leg to slow the bleeding,” Gorno said. “Her care saved this gentleman’s life.”

At the same time, 911 calls were placed at 2 p.m. regarding the accident. Two MDNR conservation officers, Sidney Collins and Dan Liestenfeltz, responded to the scene.

According to Gorno, the officers applied a more appropriate tourniquet to stop and slow the bleeding. They also were able to help get EMS to the area to help the Berkley man.

“They have lots more good equipment to help him, but he definitely would have not lived if it weren’t for the quick actions of this young girl and then the officers and the EMS personnel. It’s wonderful,” he said.

A press release from the MDNR states that the man was taken to Otsego Memorial Hospital in Gaylord for “immediate medical treatment.” He was stabilized there and later airlifted to Flint for surgery on his foot and collarbone.

The MDNR stated that the man’s mother told them July 5 that he was “in good spirits and feels lucky to be alive.” He was transported to Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital for further medical treatment. The agency is not releasing the name of the Berkley man involved in the accident.

“Thank you to the two witnesses involved in this event, particularly to the young female who applied a belt as a tourniquet, which saved valuable time before conservation officers arrived to take over medical care,” Gary Hagler, chief of the MDNR’s Law Enforcement Division, said in a prepared statement. “I’m glad to hear that the man is in good spirits. This week, our officers will continue to patrol the increased ORV activity they’re observing throughout the state and encourage all riders to ‘Ride Right,’ using care and caution regardless of where they’re riding.”