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'Shark Week' Hero Meets Teen Whose Life He May Have Saved

2:37 AM, Aug 12, 2013   |    comments
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TOWN OF BOSTON - It's a question you can't fully answer until it happens to you. Until crisis strikes, your answer can only be hypothetical.

If a Jeep has crashed with four teenagers on board, and there's a 16-year-old boy bleeding out on the side of the road with his life in danger, you have to ask yourself the question.

Would you stop?

Seems like a no-brainer.

But maybe it's not.

"I remember screaming for help," Bailey Mcgroarty said, "as a car drove by."

"Some might say, hey, that's not my thing," said Michael Mcgroarty, Bailey's father.

And then there was Robert Nicholas.

"When I saw him," Nicholas said, "I thought, 'there's no way I'm pulling away.'"

Nicholas didn't know it at the time, but an artery in Mcgroarty's left arm had been lacerated. In their report, state police called the injuries potentially life-threatening. Mercy Flight helicopter arrived on scene to rush Mcgroarty to Erie County Medical Center.

Except before that could happen, somebody had to stop the bleeding.

"I guess... he just felt like helping," Mcgroarty said, as tears began to well in his eyes. Words can't accurately describe his gratitude. "I just want to say, I am grateful."

Nicholas is not a trained physician. When he pulled his vehicle to the side of the road to investigate the accident, he doubted his ability to intervene.

"You don't even know if you're capable, Nicholas said. "There was a lot of blood."

But he's an avid viewer of "Shark Week" on the Discovery Channel. And it just so happened he'd watched an episode last week about how to use a tourniquet to stop bleeding.

"That's where I learned," he said.

So he sprung into action. He used the technique he'd watched on television, of all places. And police would credit him with possibly saving Mcgroarty's life, even though he doesn't want any of the credit.

Nicholas said Mcgroarty's friends saved his life. 17-year-old Ryan Courteau was the one who originally used a tourniquet to stop the bleeding, he said.

"That other boy," Nicholas said, "he's the one. He never left him."

Nicholas, who has two children of his own, decided to pay the four boys a visit on Sunday. Mcgroarty's wrist and elbow are broken, but he's home from the hospital with the nightmare behind him. Nicholas seemed to lift his spirits.

"You're a trooper," Nicholas told him.

Doctors had to replace Mcgroarty's damaged artery with one of his veins. Courteau also tore a ligament in his left arm. They'd been on their way to the fair when the one-vehicle accident occurred, right next to the Boston Valley Elementary School.

Witnesses say others arrived on the scene besides Nicholas. Even Nicholas himself said there many others who stopped on the side of the road, pulled out their cell phones and called for help. It's also possible, of course, that the people who didn't stop also called the police from their phones as they drove.

But nobody intervened quite like Nicholas did.

They certainly hadn't watched "Shark Week."

"Not until later did we find out how bad the accident was," Michael Mcgroarty said, referring to the vague information he'd received when he got the initial call about the accident. "What his friends did, what Robert did, it's just amazing. Just amazing."


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