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Good Samaritans honored for rescuing woman trapped under vehicle in Cheektowaga

One of the bystanders, a 15-year-old boy from Buffalo, helped the woman who was bleeding from her head.

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. — Western New York is full of people ready and willing to step in when someone needs help. 

Seven Cheektowaga Police officers and two bystanders were honored Monday for coming to the aid of a woman who became trapped under a vehicle on May 5, 2021. She was hit in the Target plaza on Walden Avenue and dragged a short distance before the car stopped outside the Michael's Craft Store. 

Captain Dana Cadwallader was in the plaza at the time, witnessed the accident and immediately radioed for help from fellow officers, fire department and ambulance personnel after noticing the woman was having trouble breathing.

Together, with the help of Assistant Chief Brian Gould, Sergeant John Wanat, Officer Michael Menth, Officer Troy Blackchief, Officer Jose Domenech, Officer Ashley Loos and two bystanders, they were able to lift the vehicle off of the woman. One of the bystanders was a teenager. 

"I was surprised at such a young person getting involved," said Assistant Police Chief Brian Gould. "It's always a pleasure to see that, but then when I got to know him it's not a surprise."

That bystander was Josiah Williams, 15, a student at Western New York Maritime Charter School. Williams has dreams of becoming a Naval Reserve Officer in the United States Navy. He used what he learned in a recent Basic Life Support certification class at the American Red Cross, and from lessons from a STOP THE BLEED® course, to help the woman. He says when he saw her he knew exactly what to do. 

"I immediately gloved up and started to provide 'Stop the Bleed' to her head," he said. "I lost my mother when I was 9, so I know the feeling of loss. I was very happy to be able to render aid. She mentioned her son -- I was happy that her son didn't have to worry about planning a funeral for his mother."

For their actions, a representative for Assemblywoman Monica Wallace (D-Lancaster) presented citations to all responsible for freeing the victim.

“By leaping into action and working together, these officers and good Samaritans likely saved the victim’s life," Wallace said in a statement. "The officers are a credit to the Town of Cheektowaga and the bystanders who assisted embody the spirit of the City of Good Neighbors."

“By acting quickly and working together, the officers and bystanders were able to prevent a bad situation from turning tragic,” said Cheektowaga Police Chief Michael Sliwinski. “I’m proud to have these excellent police officers in the Cheektowaga Police Department and grateful to the caring citizens who stepped forward to help out."

Cheektowaga Police say the victim has had multiple surgeries and is expected to make a full recovery. 

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