DES MOINES - It’s been seven months since an Iowa State Patrol Trooper and a local nurse saved a man’s life on Interstate 35.
It was a normal April day when Trooper Tracy Bohlen spotted Patrick Roark’s truck, with Oklahoma license plates, stopping and going in the middle of the 70 mile per hour interstate traffic.
"The engine is revving high, it takes off and tires squeal. This is not good. Something’s going on inside this truck,” said Bohlen.
Roark, who was driving with his 15-year-old son Eli, was having a seizure and was losing control. Eli jumped from the back seat, pulling his dad’s foot off of the gas and placing his on the brake. Seconds later, Bohlen yanked Roark out of the truck and began giving CPR right then and there.
"A lot of things played out the correct way,” said Bohlen.
A couple of vehicles behind was Ankeny nurse Jane McCurdy.
"I had worked quite a few days and it was my day to relax. My husband was out of state and I needed to run to the grocery store,” said McCurdy.
Relaxing went out the window and McCurdy’s instincts kicked in. She started helping divert traffic and moved in to help.
"Thought that someone needs help and this is what we do,” said McCurdy.
As a nurse, the scene was nothing new, so she did what she does best. She took a sobbing Eli under her wing and helped him while his father fought for his life.
"I’ll take you to the hospital. I won’t leave you, I’ll stay with you,” said McCurdy.
McCurdy helped Eli get a hotel room and food while waiting for his mom to get to town. Days later, after Pat recovered, the Roark’s went home. However, everyone’s lives were changed.
Through phone calls, texts and emails, Bohlen, McCurdy and the Roark’s stayed in touch.
Now, seven months later, in true heroic fashion, neither Bohlen nor McCurdy will say they are what everyone is hailing them as.
"It’s humbling, but it’s a big word! I don’t look at myself as a hero, I was just at the right place, at the right time, doing my job,” said Bohlen. "There’s many more heroes out there like men and women of law enforcement, EMS or fire who have paid the ultimate price.”
"I laughed with him, cried with him and they’re truly a great family. Eli is truly the hero. He’s the one that got the truck stopped and prevented what could’ve been a tragic accident going into the mix-master,” said McCurdy.
They both say the highlight of that April day isn’t saving anyone’s life or becoming a “hero.” It was becoming the Roark’s friend and in turn, part of their family.
"I got a text from Jane, from Pat, wishing us the best of luck. He has a very huge heart for Iowa,” said Bohlen.
"I just think they're lucky people and grateful people. It was a huge blessing for me to be in the right place at the right time and just to meet them,” said McCurdy.
Bohlen, McCurdy and a Nebraska hero will be honored during halftime of Friday’s game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Nebraska Cornhuskers.
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