VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) — Two police officers happened to be in the right place, at the right time when a 13-year-old girl was seriously hurt and possibly just seconds from death.
The teen, Carina Flores, said in a one-on-one interview with FOX 12 that she was injured after making a poor decision.
“I was just hanging out with my friend and he dared me to run toward a glass window,” Flores said. “So, I did – and I fell through it.”
The shattered, plate glass window was no match. Shards sliced through Flores’ arm like a knife in butter.
“I was so shocked that I couldn’t even feel it,” she said.
Flores was hurt on Sept. 30 at the corner of East 13th Street & Broadway. At the time, just two blocks away, two Vancouver police officers happened to be at an unrelated welfare call.
“We heard some screaming, and the screaming kept getting louder and louder,” recounted Officer Bryan Benes.
Benes’ colleague, Officer Zachary Merill, was next to him.
“Once we got up there and talked to Carina, we could definitely see that the arm had been filleted as a result of falling through the plate glass window, and we knew that it was serious,” Merill said.
On scene, Benes and Merill – both military veterans – saw Flores was losing a lot of blood and knew time was likely critical. However, both officers didn’t learn until later just how serious Flores’ injuries were: the glass had cut her brachial artery, the major blood vessel in the upper arm.
“I had a tourniquet and that’s what I went to… immediately started ‘tourniqueting’ up her arm,” Benes said.
Luckily, for Flores, an ambulance was already on its way and about to arrive for the officers’ other, unrelated call. The cops diverted it to pick up the teenager instead.
“We were at the right place at the right time,” Merill said. “And, you know, it’s our job.”
A month and a half later, though her arm remains in a split, Flores says she feels lucky.
“What do you want to say to those officers?” asked FOX 12 reporter Tyler Dumont.
“Thank you,” Flores said. “Just keep doing your job.”
The two Vancouver officers stopped by not long ago to check on Flores, where she says she was able to thank them in-person.
Officers Benes and Merill agree that they hope Flores – and other teenagers – will use this averted crisis as a lesson.
“Glass is more fragile than what it looks like,” Benes said. “Don’t play with it!”
The VPD officers told FOX 12 that despite Flores being hurt downtown and multiple passersby who witnessed her injuries, nobody ever called 911. Flores believes if it wasn’t for the officers, she may not have survived.
Flores said she still has a couple of months of recovery to go before she can begin physical therapy, however, she already has all major movements back.
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