Monday, August 24, 2020 – “I left my car so I could help get them out of there.”
Some days the local news can refresh your spirits. Some days the news can knock you out with wonder and, at the same time, send you on your way laughing with joy.
This local news story we posted on March 25, 2014, from the first year of the “Work Day, Hard Times Poetry List” (1st posted in late September 2013 as the Detroit Bankruptcy was still stirring deep anxieties in the city).
Unlike our usual posts, this is a story, not a poem, unless any piece of writing that sends us on our way with wonder counts as poetry.
Have a blest day,
Detroit — Freeing people trapped in overturned cars is getting to be a bit of a habit with Lance Swain.
For the second time in about a month, the Detroit resident has helped rescue victims of rollover crashes on area roads. The latest occurred shortly before 1 p.m. Tuesday as Swain was returning from lunch.
“I was driving down the Lodge near Howard Street and I saw a Jeep on its side,” said Swain, who works for Detroit City Connect, a non-profit agency that helps Detroit area non-profits and the government to work together to solve local problems.
“I pulled up close and asked a bystander if there was anyone inside and he said, ‘Yeah, two people.’ I left my car so I could help get them out of there.”
According to Swain, the victims were two women who were more or less dangling from their seat belts.
“They were conscious but shook up pretty bad,” said Swain, the married father of a 5-year-old daughter and a nearly 2-year-old son. “We got the passenger side door open, and I slid inside. The first lady was the passenger, and I had to undo her seat belt and then I pulled her out.
“But the driver’s foot was stuck and she couldn’t stand up so I couldn’t get her out.”
Pinned and panicky, the driver told Swain she was scared and that her chest hurt.
“I stayed with her; she was holding me,” Swain said. “I told her to breathe, gave her some water and put a scarf around her neck to keep her warm. When the paramedics arrived, they decided to remove her through the rear hatch of the Jeep.”
Swain let down the seats and helped the paramedics remove the woman.
And then he went back to his job at City Connect.
“The funny thing is the same sort of thing happened about a month ago on Grand River,” Swain said. “We were coming back from the Black History Museum and there was a car that had been hit and was on its side. My cousin and I hopped out and did pretty much the same thing for the two people who were inside.
“So when this crash happened on the Lodge it was pretty much like, ‘Let me out of my car and get to work.’ ”
Swain demurs when anyone suggests that he might be a hero.
“I’m a man and that’s what a man does,” Swain said.