SCI Smithfield Licensed Practical Nurse Christina Beach was recently traveling home from basic training at the DOC's Training Academy when her GPS directed her to Route 30—a different way than she normally takes. While driving along this new route, Christina noticed a large dog lying in the middle of the road, and an elderly man exiting a vehicle walking toward it. She initially thought the man lived on the nearby farm and was there because it was his dog that had been hit. It turns out the elderly gentleman was not from the area. He struck the dog on accident and had pulled over to tend to the animal.
Christina was concerned that the man would not be able to pull the dog off the road by himself, so she pulled over to help. As she exited her vehicle, the man bent down to pick the animal up, but it was not dead – or a dog. The "dog" turned out to be a coyote and began attacking him. The coyote initially began biting the man's forearms but eventually let go. The reprieve did not last long before the coyote began to attack the man's calf. He eventually got to away from the coyote, but he was bleeding profusely.
Christina ran back to her vehicle to gather clothing from the travel bag she had packed for her stay at the Training Academy and used clothing to apply pressure to the wounds and control the bleeding. She simultaneously dialed 911 and notified his wife. She stayed with the man until the ambulance arrived and kept him talking because he was fading in and out of consciousness. The elderly man was in very serious condition when the ambulance arrived, but he did survive the mauling and is doing much better now. The coyote was picked up and is being checked for rabies.
Though this was a lamentable circumstance for the man, one of the DOC's own staff members gave him a fighting chance at surviving the attack. Christina's bravery to stop and act in such a dangerous circumstance is nothing less than heroic.
SCI Smithfield is very proud of her and we applaud her for her act of bravery and humanity.
Below: SCI Smithfield presented Christina with a certificate of commendation. From left: Deputy Superintendent for Centralized Services Christian Garman, Corrections Health Care Administrator Alexa Lidwell, Licensed Practical Nurse Christina Beach and Superintendent Chad Wakefield.