Scranton resident assists driver in Utah crash
By REBECCA MCKINSEY
Scranton resident Kyle Thompson was in Crescent Junction, Utah, for work recently when the semitrailer truck directly in front of him was unable to complete a turn on an off-ramp.
The truck rolled on its side and slid across the highway. Thompson, who had been on the phone with his wife, told her in shock, “I have got to let you go.”
He pulled his Union Pacific service truck in front of the semi just as its driver crawled out of the windshield holding his hand and arm and bleeding badly.
Other motorists followed, including one who called 911 and another who offered a clean T-shirt, and state patrol officers soon arrived to direct traffic, but as the first on scene, Thompson was tasked with providing first aid until first responders arrived to take over.
He had some first-aid training from his job and a kit in his truck, and used the donated T-shirt to wrap the driver’s hand. Utah Highway Patrol workers later said Thompson’s intervention saved the man’s life.
“To this day, it still baffles me that everybody is like, ‘You did a good job; you stopped (to help),’ but it’s like, everybody should stop,” Thompson said. “When you’re little, as you grow up, you’re always taught to help people out when they need help. If there’s an emergency and someone’s stopped on the side of the road, you stop and you help. That’s been ingrained in me.”
Thompson is a 1994 Glidden-Ralston grad — he jokes that he had a Scranton address and a Ralston phone number and went to high school in Glidden. He and his wife, Brandy, live in Scranton. They have two sons, Jaron, 20, and Joe, 19. Thompson’s parents, Alan and Pam Thompson, live in rural Scranton and used to own a lumberyard in Coon Rapids.
Thompson has worked for Union Pacific for 11 years as a gang machinist, traveling around the country to work on track equipment.
He misses home while he’s gone but said his job lets him see the country in a unique way. As he reflected on his experience helping the semi driver in Utah, he was parked on what he described as a goat path in Mountain Home, Idaho. He was headed to Kansas next.
“I get to see the back roads; I get to meet locals,” he said. “I’ve always said I want to see the country through the windshield of a truck, so I guess I’m doing that.”
His boss, Jerry Tibbs, maintenance manager of Way Equipment, Engineering, initially thought Thompson had been in a crash that morning in Utah and rushed to the scene. He later said he was grateful Thompson was there and able to help.
“This is the kind of character we want to see in all of our employees,” Tibbs said in a news release.