Ledyard first responders honored for saving motorcyclist's life after crash

Ledyard — In front of a room full of supporters, four emergency responders were honored at Wednesday’s Town Council meeting for their quick thinking and actions that saved the life of a motorcyclist involved in a serious crash in June.

Gales Ferry Fire Company Chief Tony Saccone and Ledyard Police Department Chief John Rich recounted details from the June 15 crash, in which motorcyclist Seth Johnson collided with a vehicle on Route 214 and was found lying in the road. Johnson, who had to have a leg amputation as a result of the crash, attended the ceremony with his family.

Saccone awarded Firefighter Steven Burns with the distinguished service medal for assisting emergency medical technicians at the scene with bleeding control until Johnson was transported by ambulance and then by Life Star helicopter to Hartford Hospital.

“Strong teamwork among all those involved and strong communication amongst all involved resulted in a better than expected outcome,” Saccone said. “Due to Firefighter Burns’ training, professionalism and commitment to public safety, the patient is here with us today.”

Accompanied by Johnson, Rich awarded Officer 1st Class Fred Whitlock and Officer Ben Burbank with the Ledyard Police Department Medal for Lifesaving for their work at the scene. Whitlock was the first on scene and stabilized Johnson’s head and spine; he requested additional responders upon seeing Johnson’s injuries and comforted him as they arrived. Burbank followed, applying a tourniquet to his leg to stop the catastrophic bleeding.

“Officer Whitlock and Officer Burbank’s actions on June 15, 2019, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the Ledyard Police Department,” Rich said.

Sgt. Alan Muench received the Chief’s Letter of Commendation for coordinating resources and logistics during and after the crash. Rich said Muench handled the post-crash investigation and checked in on the first responders to make sure they were doing well after the traumatic response. Just an hour after the crash scene was cleared, he led the presentation of colors at Ledyard High School’s graduation ceremony. Muench also recommended the two officers be recognized for their work after the crash.

“He was able to adapt to the demand of the day,” Rich said, adding that Muench even stayed after graduation was over to help with traffic control.

A fifth responder who was instrumental at the scene was working Wednesday night and couldn’t attend the ceremony but will be honored at the next Town Council meeting.

a.hutchinson@theday.com

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