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.
“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.
“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.”