May 15, 2024

Pax Sailor Provides Life-Saving Roadside Assistance

Life-Saving
Isaiah Mercado, stationed at NAS Pax River, rendered life-saving care to injured motorists following a vehicle collision in Hollywood on April 7. (US Navy photo by Patrick Gordon)

Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Isaiah Mercado is no stranger to high-stress scenarios.

As a Navy armament weapons support equipment technician with Navy Munitions Command Atlantic Detachment Patuxent River, his duties include supporting both air- and surface-launched weapons by performing intermediate level maintenance on both peculiar and common ordnance handling and transportation equipment. Maintaining the equipment that transports explosive ordnance requires a strong nerve, so it is no surprise that he was able to coolly and calmly act when he came across a vehicle collision shortly after 10am on a recent Sunday in St. Mary’s County.

Driving with his wife, Mr. Mercado saw the scene of the collision involving a motorcycle and a compact SUV at Three Notch Road and Tom Hodges Drive in Hollywood, MD. Realizing he was the first on scene he went into action without a second thought.

“It was just a natural instinct to stop,” he said. “As soon as I saw the accident my first thought was to get there as fast as I could and help out the victims.”

Telling his wife to call 911, he assessed the scene and began to check all parties for injuries. Finding the driver of the SUV responsive and able to talk, she asked Mercado to check on her child in the backseat.

“The child was in the back unconscious from the collision,” Mr. Mercado said. “I started to ask if she can hear me or move at all. I checked for a pulse and told the mother her daughter was still alive and with a pulse. My next step was to check on the motorcyclist, and I was asking if he could hear me and then I tapped him a couple times and got no response.”

Mr. Mercado was then joined on the scene by an off-duty St. Mary’s County sheriff’s deputy, who began to assist with the injured as well, freeing Mr. Mercado to check back on the unconscious child in the SUV.

“My wife handed me the phone since I had a better understanding being in the car and getting a triage done on those involved,” he said. “I told the 911 operator my guess on the age of the two unconscious people and told them I checked for a pulse on the little girl. The off-duty sheriff asked me to help stabilize the girls’ neck and he took over the call to the dispatcher.”

Joined by a third passerby, Mr. Mercado enlisted her with helping the driver out of the SUV.

“I told her she needs to get the mom and take her out the car because I didn’t want her to see her child like this,” he said. “After that the first responders came and asked us if we needed a collar for the child’s neck, then went off to get one and our next focus was to get her out of the car.”

Mr. Mercado’s initial assessment of the scene made it clear that the SUV’s door buckled in the collision with enough force to roll the SUV’s frame onto the child’s booster seat, making it difficult to remove her from that side of the vehicle.

“I told them I can just carry her out from the car,” he said. “I unbuckled her and then cradled her and scooted out of the car then carried her to the gurney. They then asked for her name, so I went to the mother and asked her for it. After I got it, I proceeded back to the area where they were tending to her and called her by her name to get a response.”

Tragically, despite the efforts of Mr. Mercado and first responders who began CPR, the motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene. The woman and child were transported by ambulance to MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital and flown by helicopters to separate hospitals for further care.

For those who know Mr, Mercado, his actions that day speak volumes to his character.

“AO2’s ability to jump into a scene and render aide without a moment’s hesitation is exactly why he’s a trusted leader on our team,” said Senior Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Paul Nelson, senior enlisted advisor for NMCLANT DET Pax. “I have no doubt his speed, cool head, and competent actions prevented further loss of life in a difficult situation, and I am incredibly proud have him as a member of NMCLANT DET Pax.”

NMCLANT DET Pax is responsible for providing Fleet Ordnance Support to local customers as well as designated research and development projects in support of test and evaluation of fixed and rotary wing aircraft.

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