OSI duo takes action on interstate

  • Published
  • By Wayne Amann
  • OSI Public Affairs

Little did Special Agent Robert Davis and Ms. Lieve Cuypers expect to spend his birthday comp day as Good Samaritans.

On Aug. 4, 2020, SA Davis, Deputy Associate Director, Office of Special Investigations Warfighter Readiness and Execution, and Ms. Cuypers, OSI Investigations, Collections, Operations Nexus Center Key Spouse, were traveling eastbound on I-64 near Quinton, Va., when they approached a single vehicle accident. A red sedan flipped over into a ditch and was smoking. SA Davis ran to the vehicle.

“I determined the accident just occurred because of the way the vehicle appeared,” SA Davis said. “Only a couple of bystanders stopped but no one was taking action. If not me, then who? I knew I had to ensure that the accident victims were okay.”

He used his OSI-issued resqme device (a spring loaded stainless steel spike designed to easily break side windows) to disintegrate the upside down driver’s side window that was partially buried in the ground. Cries of help could be heard inside and a woman’s arms emerged.

When SA Davis and another motorist pulled the woman out of the vehicle she started screaming “her baby” was inside. The baby was a four-to-five year old girl who was mobile. SA Davis heard her talking and told her to come toward him. She crawled out of the car where SA Davis and the other motorist assisted her to safety.

SA Davis yelled into the car to determine if anyone else was inside and heard a male voice saying he was the last one. The man extended his arm slightly out of the car so SA Davis and the motorist could pull him to safety.

“Scenarios from my Counter-Threat Operations Course definitely helped me focus on what was important at the scene and to drown out unimportant distractions like bystanders shouting misinformation,” SA Davis said. Self-aid buddy care was also useful that day.”

At that instant there was a loud boom on the interstate approaching the accident signaling a secondary series of crashes from rubberneckers. The scene became chaotic as traffic tried to flow through the carnage and debris.

“I've been exposed to plenty of traumatic crime scenes so the destruction didn’t faze me, it  allowed me to be cool and collected, SA Davis said.”  

The driver of a silver sedan was able to get out of her vehicle on her own, as was the driver and infant in the backseat of the compact rear-ended by the sedan. However, the compact’s passenger took the brunt of the impact when it collided with a truck. As SA Davis ran to these latest crashes, two motorists pulled the passenger out to safety.

Meanwhile, Ms. Cuypers attended to the woman from the first accident who had a seizure. She poured water on the woman’s wrists as a motorist with nursing experience talked her through the seizure. After the woman was stabilized, Ms. Cuypers provided water to the man and young girl.

She then ran back to her car to retrieve a fire extinguisher and bring it to the second accident scene and gave it to a motorist who was concerned the compact car could ignite. Ms. Cuypers attended to the victims at this scene, stabilizing them and providing water when it could be administered safely. 

SA Davis, wearing a reflective vest, took control of the traffic, reducing it to a safe speed, and routing it safely around the destruction as the scene awaited first responders. While directing traffic, SA Davis suddenly noticed the compact car started to roll back towards the victims and quickly acted to stop it.

This marks the third major accident SA Davis has encountered. The first time was on the B-51 road near Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. Now retired SA Scott View and SA Davis came upon a two vehicle accident where one of the cars was sheared in half.

“SA View's bravery during that situation was remarkable, for which I put him in for a medal,” SA Davis recalled.

SA Davis doesn’t talk about the second accident much.

“I was driving home from work at Shaw Air Force Base, (S.C.) and came upon a driving under the influence accident. A drunk driver pulled out in front of a pickup truck on a major highway. I used the resqme then, too, to get to the drunk driver from the passenger side because he was fused into his door. I couldn't get him out, but I stayed with him until he passed away in my arms,” he said.

Emergency services arrived shortly after.

Those experiences prepared SA Davis for what happened the other day mainly by driving with the safety equipment he keeps in his vehicle.

“I normally store a tourniquet, small first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, flashlight, reflective markers, latex gloves, safety vest, and the resqme in my car,” he said. “After this latest experience, I'm adding emergency blankets to that kit as well.”

Was this SA Davis’ most memorable birthday?

“I'd say top three for sure,” he noted. “This was not how I imagined my birthday would go. I’m just grateful only minor injuries resulted from this hectic situation. I do prefer birthdays that are a little less exciting than this was.”

SA Davis’ boss is giving him another comp day.