Holley student performs CPR on man who crashed at Brockport Subway

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 June 2024 at 4:26 pm

Leigha Walker to be recognized by Brockport Fire District for quick response

Photo by Tom Rivers: Leigha Walker is shown today outside the Holley Junior-Senior High School, where she is an honors student and three-sport varsity athlete.

HOLLEY – Leigha Walker, 18, is used to staying calm and being decisive in stressful situations.

Leigha is a three-sport athlete at Holley, a team captain. She also rides horses. She can decide in a millisecond whether to pass the ball or fire off a shot, or whether to guide a sprinting horse to the left or right an obstacle.

Provided photo: Leigha Walker juggles a busy school schedule with shifts at the Brockport Subway. She has worked there since February. On Sunday she did CPR on a man who was unconscious after crashing into a support beam in front of the Subway.

On Sunday morning, while working at the Brockport Subway, she faced a life-or-death situation. She had just put bread in the oven at the Subway at 10 a.m., when a man crashed his blue pickup truck into a support beam for an overhang outside the Subway.

Leigha immediately called 911. Then she ran outside the store to check on the man. Two customers and a co-worker joined her. Another driver got out of his car.

The driver, an older man, was unconscious at the wheel. But the truck was locked.

Leigha ran back in the store to get a wooden rod used to prop open the back door when employees take out the garbage. That rod was used to smash in the passenger side window. Another man reached in and unlocked the vehicle cutting his arm from the jagged glass.

Another Subway employee grabbed the driver and pulled him out of the truck. Leigha had his feet. They set him down carefully. Leigha rolled up a blanket as pillow underneath his head.

He gasped for air. She checked his vitals. He had a slight pulse.

Firefighters soon arrived from the Brockport Fire District. While they were getting out an AED, a firefighter urged someone to do CPR.

Leigha started doing compressions. She is certified in CPR. She did at least 30 compressions.

Then the medic from the fire district shocked the man with the AED. Monroe Ambulance arrived and transported him to a hospital.

The whole response took about 12 minutes, from the 911 call to the man being taking away by ambulance. Leigha put her headset back on and was greeted with irate customers who were in the drive-through, angry about the wait. They didn’t realize what was going on.

Leigha took their orders, pulled the bread out of the oven and worked four more hours.

Later, she received a message from the driver’s brother-in-law, thanking her for his quick action. He told her the man is alive, recovering in an ICU.

Leigha received another message from the man’s granddaughter, thanking her for making a difference for her grandfather.

Leigha is still processing what happened. It was all so fast.

“I just jumped into action,” she said today during an interview at the school. “It helps to know he is doing OK.”

She is grateful she received training in CPR at Holley. It was part of the Sports, Safety and Fitness class taught by Renee Wolf, who is also Leigha’s soccer coach.

Leigha was one of 15 Holley students to take the class last year. She is certified in CPR. She also learned the Heimlich maneuver and other first aid.

Jose Medina, chief of the Brockport Fire District, said Leigha improved the outcome for the driver in the accident. She and the other people got him out of the truck, saving firefighters time in the response. And the CPR also was likely critical, Medina said.

“The measures that she and other people took made a difference in him being alive,” Medina said.

The chief said if there are bystanders at a scene they are typically gawking, and not offering any assistance.

The Brockport Fire District wants to recognize Leigha for her “outstanding acts.”

Medina said he was able to do life-saving CPR on a person a couple years ago. He was trained to do it and felt like it was his responsibility as a firefighter.

He was amazed on Sunday to see a high school student working at Subway step forward and render aid.

Leigha is planning to attend Morrisville State College to play soccer and study equine management. The response on Sunday makes her want to take more EMT classes so she can better respond if there is ever an incident at a horse show or in the horse barn.

Dan Courtney, the Holley assistant principal, said the district feels very proud of Leigha and her response. Holley has been offering the CPR training through the Sports, Safety and Fitness class for about a decade.

“With CPR you never know if you’ll need it,” Courtney said.

Leigha had this advice for others: “Learn CPR.”