LAKE JACKSON — Detective Travis Pate was on his way to recover a stolen trailer when he saw a crash and had the presence of mind to save a life, his chief said.
On the afternoon of July 10, a man driving a truck passed another vehicle illegally on Highway 288, then clipped the front of a Jeep and began rolling, The Facts previously reported. Pate applied a tourniquet to the man’s arm and prevented blood loss that would have killed him before emergency medical services arrived, Lake Jackson Police Chief Paul Kibodeaux said.
“You were the right person at the right place at the right time,” Kibodeaux said at the City Council meeting Tuesday, where he presented the detective with a Police Life Saving Award.
“It caught me off guard, honestly,” Pate said of the crash.
After the truck passed on the right shoulder and clipped the Jeep in the left lane of Highway 288 northbound, the 52-year-old Angleton man driving operating the vehicle lost control, went sideways, hit two light poles and three signs and then flipped multiple times, police said.
As Pate waited for the vehicle to stop rolling, he tried to figure out what he would be running up to, he said. The actions of him and all the other people who stopped and helped at that moment were critical, Pate said, adding he wishes he knew who they all were.
When Pate ran up to the truck, he saw blood pooling in the window, he said. He ran back to his car to grab gloves and his trauma kit, which he has kept in his police vehicle during the six years he has been with Lake Jackson Police Department, he said.
When he returned to the truck, he saw the man had crawled out and was on his knees in the grass of the median, Pate said. Other bystanders laid the man down and Pate applied the tourniquet, he said.
The proper tourniquet application to control bleeding “was the difference between life and death,” Kibodeaux said. Pate also had the presence of mind to relay critical information to dispatch and get a medical helicopter to the scene, Kibodeaux said.
Pate asked a man next to him to grab his radio and speak to dispatch, Pate said.
“To think if nobody stopped … it was nice to have the extra set of hands,” he said.
Lake Jackson Emergency Medical Services trains officers annually so they are prepared to use the tools in the trauma kit, Pate said. It is not something he expected to ever do, especially since he left patrol to become an investigator two years ago, he said.
Career paramedics told him they’ve never had to use a tourniquet, Pate said, adding it is very rare. Pate keeps the same trauma equipment in his personal vehicles just in case, he said.
Pate’s family packed the council chambers Tuesday evening to see Kibodeaux present Pate with the award for his life-saving actions.
“I was very proud to be recognized,” Pate said.
The other people who stopped to help were just as much first responders as he was, Pate said, and he could not have done it without their help.