Crew leaps into action to help after auto accident

By Jennifer Bray

(From Left: Adam West, Kevin McNamara, Brenton Gunning and Brian Williams)

On July 29th, at the height of the morning rush hour, under a brilliant sun, a slew of cars was tangling a three-way intersection in Lincoln, Rhode Island.

Two vehicles collided where Albion Road and George Washington Highway meet.

That’s when four fast-thinking employees from National Grid, who were on their way to a job-site in Smithfield, sprang into action.

“The crash happened right in front of us,” said Brenton Gunning, an overhead lineworker with National Grid for the past two and a half years as well as a former Marine. Gunning, Kevin McNamara, Brian Williams and Adam West, all National Grid employees, were traveling to a job site in Smithfield.

“Both cars were pretty beat-up,” reported Adam West, a lineworker of 23 years. Each vehicle had just the driver in the cars. Both vehicles were severely damaged, one with a crumpled front end. Amid the wreckage, one woman was trapped in the driver’s seat by her airbag and starting to panic.

Their first step was to call 9-1-1, from there they lept into action to help the stranded drivers.

“We were able to cut the straps off the airbag and move it away from her,” said Crew Leader Kevin McNamara, a longtime National Grid worker of 32 years, and a former police officer.

While waiting for the police and the ambulances to arrive, all four National Grid employees tended to the victims, as traffic continued to swirl by, dodging the chunks of metal and debris.

“She was shaken up when the airbag deployed,” Gunning said. He spoke with her and made her call work to let them know what happened.

Brian Williams, a crew leader and 10-year National Grid employee, was helping the woman in the other vehicle. She was complaining of pain in her hand. After getting her an icepack, he noticed a fishing sticker on the back of her mangled vehicle.

“I was able to get her talking about fishing and that helped until the police arrived,” said Williams.

Lincoln Police Captain Philip Gould was pleased that the four were National Grid employees were in the right place at the right time.

“We here at the Lincoln Police Department would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the members of the National Grid Team who assisted at a motor vehicle crash on July 29th,” said Captain Gould. “The crews, who happened to be nearby when the crash occurred, jumped into action and helped the victims. Not only did they help remove the airbag, but they were able to provide some first aid and help calm down the parties involved. It is encouraging to know that we have people like that on our roadways who are willing to step in and help out in a time of need,” Captain Gould said. “On behalf of the Lincoln Police and Lincoln EMS, Thank You!”

Williams, Gunning, West and McNamara have all taken CPR and first aid courses. Despite all the hours the crews log on the roads, this is the first time an accident has ever unfolded in front of them.

Andrew Capistron, Senior Supervisor District Line Worker, who oversees all four men, knew they would go above and beyond. “Any one of the National Grid crews would respond the same way,” he said. “Helping someone in immediate need, it’s part of what we do.”





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