They Started the Day Electricians and Ended as Heroes
For most people, the first day on the job is filled with introductions to new co-workers, learning the layout of the office and an obligatory trip to H.R. to fill out paperwork and watch training videos. When Donovan Allen started his first day at B&D Industries, Inc. as an electrician on March 20, he never thought he’d end that Wednesday with another title – hero.
Allen, 29, was partnered his first day with Seth Stevenson, 36, a longtime B&D employee. They were heading north on Interstate 25 toward Santa Fe on a service call when they witnessed a rollover crash ahead of them involving a Ford Expedition towing a Dodge pickup on a flatbed trailer. The Expedition rolled off the road and flipped over, and the trailer disconnected and careened into another vehicle. “Everything just started wrecking across the highway,” Stevenson said. “It was super fast, amazingly fast…up ahead it was all kinds of debris flying across the highway,” Stevenson added. “Somehow they lost control of the vehicle. The truck came off the vehicle and it started to flip,” he added. The duo instinctively knew they had to stop and at least try to help when they realized there were probably children trapped in the vehicle. “When we were running up I saw a stroller thrown,” Allen said, adding that when Stevenson said they “had to stop to help those people get out,” he responded, “I was like, alright, let’s go.” Afraid the truck could explode or even catch fire with people inside, they kept running toward the scene. Stevenson then crawled in through the front driver’s side window and saw two toddler girls strapped into car seats in the middle row. “The first little girl, she was kicking and screaming,” he said. “It broke my heart…I proceeded to lay on my side and crawl into it. There were two little girls strapped inside,” Stevenson added. The second child “was not really moving much” and he then unstrapped her and carried her over to Allen.
The little girls were awake and seemed to be physically okay but were visibly shaken, while the two adults inside were unconscious and unable to help. “I got the first little girl out, she was kicking and screaming a lot. I just brought her in close and told her it’s going to be okay,” Stevenson said. It didn’t take long to realize how lucky the girls were, with Stevenson adding, “Everything else in that car was smashed except the area the two little girls were at,” and
Allen attributing their survival to a higher source. “I think it’s amazing. God was watching out for them, for sure,” he said.
Unfortunately, not all five of the people in the accident survived. State Police said 68-year-old Zenaida Lopez of Kansas City, Kansas, died after she was thrown from the Expedition. After Stevenson made sure the younger passengers were alright, he did his best to treat Lopez, doing chest compressions as she lay unconscious on the ground. He said, “I put my hands on her chest and that’s when the first officer ran up.” As the State Police officer took over chest compressions, Stevenson held the officer’s phone for him as he called for backup. After about five minutes, they realized there was nothing else they could do. “[The officer and I] looked at each other,” Stevenson said. “We knew the lady had passed on. I said a little prayer.”
While tragic, Stevenson thinks the day turned out to be a great test of character for Allen, B&D’s newest electrician. “I got to know my partner was a really good guy,” Stevenson said. “He jumped out and helped. We just wanted to get those people safe.” The events of March 20 really hit home for the pair, who are both parents. That night, Allen dreamed of the accident, and that it was his two-year-old son buckled into one of the car seats. Despite that traumatic dream, Allen said he’s glad he stepped up. “I told Seth, I was like, ‘I’d want somebody to stop for me and help my kid get out,’” Allen said, adding, “If I see something like that, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”