Florida

Aspiring firefighter, 17, saves life of 21-year police veteran

A 17-year-old aspiring firefighter is being hailed a hero for saving the life of an off-duty police officer.

Thalia Rodriguez, a high school senior in Hialeah, was driving along an expressway on Sunday morning when she saw a man bleeding on the side of the road. That man turned out to be Miami-Dade Police Major Ricky Carter, a 21-year police veteran who had crashed his motorcycle.

Rodriguez, who is training to be a first responder, immediately jumped into action, according to the Miami Herald, which first reported the story. She came across a scene that few could stomach – a bleeding man who lost is left leg and whose right one was almost completely severed.

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“I knew I could be of some help and I thought I could do whatever I could do until paramedics arrived,” she told Fox News. “People asked me if I was scared when I saw him. I wasn’t. I believe I was there for a reason and I was going to do whatever I could to help him.”

As a nurse pulled over to help, Rodriguez applied a tourniquet on his leg to staunch the bleeding. That decision, officials say, may have saved the officer’s life. Carter, who is still in critical condition, is a well-respected officer who is loved in the community.

Rodriguez is a student at Westland Hialeah, a health science magnet school in Miami-Dade County. She is training to become a medical responder. The principal at her school, Giovanna Blanco, said Rodriguez told no one about her heroics. The school learned what she did through medical responders at the scene.

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 “She was amazing – and so humble about it,” Blanco said. “She did what she was trained to do.”

Rodriguez said she plans to attend college in the fall and eventually wants to be a firefighter and paramedic. She said it is one thing to be trained on how to handle a traumatic scene – another to actually take action.

“I was at the scene, and it was all on me. It was a lot of pressure,” she said. “But I just did what I was there to do.”