By Kaylee Lindenmuth
Two KU geography classes were on their way to Philadelphia when a four-car pile-up brought traffic to a halt in front of them and caused a student to take action.
According to State Police at King of Prussia, the crash occurred around 11:50 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 5, on Interstate 476, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, in Salford Township, Montgomery County. Traffic began to slow, and a 2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser in the left lane began to brake, as did a tailing 2016 Nissan Rogue.
A 2010 Chrysler Town and Country struck the back of the Rogue, pushing it into the PT Cruiser. The Town and Country was then struck by a Hyundai Sonata, and all vehicles but the PT Cruiser were disabled.
As this unfolded in the left lane, a Bieber bus carrying the KU students, traveling behind in the right lane, was struck by a gold Toyota Camry attempting to avoid the initial crash by changing lanes. The bus was not damaged, though the Camry had a broken turn signal. Both drivers stopped to exchange information.
While the Bieber bus stood halted and emergency crews were still responding, senior geography major Emily Cantor left the bus to do what she says she’d hope anyone would do: help others.
“I came up [to the front of the bus] and I asked Dr. [Steven] Schnell if he had seen if anybody was injured, and he said he couldn’t really see anything, and then I got off the bus and checked myself,” said Cantor. “There was a man who, I don’t know if he dislocated his shoulder, but something was wrong with his arm and he kept holding it to his body, and then there was another gentleman who was in the car. His back was really hurting and he was immobile.”
“So, we helped the man in the car lie down, and I brought him some water,” Cantor continued. “And then the other one, I took my sweatshirt off and I made a makeshift sling, and I told him to keep it to his body so that it would take the weight off of him trying to hold it up.”
Cantor said her actions drew from experiences working as a camp director at a Boy Scout Reservation.
“A lot of my duties dealt with crisis management, and when we talk to the Scouts and we teach them the values of Scouting, a lot of it is to be helpful in the community and do good deeds without wanting acknowledgment,” said Cantor. “They needed help, and they were all flustered and I felt like I would’ve been upset with myself had I not gone out and helped.”
“I try to practice what I teach, in that respect,” Cantor added.
The idea of fashioning a sling also came from scouting experience, Cantor said.
“In Boy Scouts, there are a lot of different things that we teach them when we look at first aid,” said Cantor. “We teach things like, ‘in the event of an emergency and you don’t have something like an actual sling, what can you do.”
Cantor’s sweatshirt remained with the injured motorist as the bus departed to alleviate traffic backups.
“Even at the adult level, all Scouts are taught how to respond in those kinds of situations,” added Cantor.
“I just think people should want to help other people. I think we would have a much more positive society if we all were more willing to help each other,” said Cantor. “Like, that really didn’t take a lot for me to do.”
State Police at King of Prussia listed one person as injured in the accident, Lawrence Allen, 61, of Williamsport, driver of the Chrysler Town and Country. He was treated at the scene by Upper Perkiomen Valley Ambulance and transported to Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest in Allentown.
The State Police release did not list the occupants of the involved Hyundai Sonata.