On Wednesday, August 15, 2018 a crew of TTR Substations technicians and groundmen were at PG&E’s Spence Substation in Salinas, California performing routine maintenance. Around midday, several men walked over to a taco truck right near the intersection of Spence Rd. and Eckhardt Rd. where a horrific scene unfolded right before their eyes:
A Ford F-150 pickup truck was making a left turn from Spence Road onto southbound CA Hwy 101, steps from where the crew was having their lunch. Just as the pickup was making the turn, it crossed into the path of a bright orange cargo truck which smashed into the pickup’s left rear passenger side.
According to a California Highway Patrol officer, a 3-year-old child, who was in a booster seat that was not properly restrained, was ejected from the vehicle and into the southbound lanes of oncoming traffic.
After witnessing this terrifying accident, without hesitation, the TTR Substations crews sprang into action, called 911 and then ran to the scene to see how they could help.
The substation foreman, Les Cook, provided outstanding leadership to his crew including Matt Jadot, Zack Smith, Carter Scarabello and Ernie Silvey. The men directed traffic and diverted oncoming vehicles away from the chaotic scene to protect the child who was in the roadway, administered emergency first aid to the injured, and selflessly provided comfort and care to the traumatized mother which may have prevented her from going into shock. After emergency crews arrived, the child was helicoptered to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose and was listed in “stable condition” the day after the accident.
Aside from the obvious relief the crews felt after they learned the child was alive and recovering from his life-threatening injuries, this accident proved to be a wake-up call for the crew, TTR Substations and parent company PLH Group.
First, the intersection at Spence Rd. and Hwy 101 is notoriously dangerous, and there have been multiple accidents over the years at this crossroads, with no less than three accidents in the six weeks since the crew has been on site. Knowing this, the TTR crews who work at Spence Substation have taken precautions to enter and exit at Eckhardt Rd., the service road in front of the substation, instead of at Spence Rd. from Hwy 101 – to reduce their risk of any accidents. This protocol has been communicated to TTR’s customer PG&E to keep all workers safe who come to the site.
Second, although the first aid kit at the jobsite was a helpful tool to have at the scene, Cathy Orth, Safety Director for TTR Substations will be enhancing the “utility construction standard” OSHA compliant first aid kit with more supplies to address more severe injuries than the kit currently allows for. She will also be providing additional first aid training for any worker who requests it. Cathy has impressed upon the crew they are never obligated to render care in a situation such as this terrible car accident. However, if it is safe to do so, and they choose to, her hope is to prepare them as much as possible in Medic First Aid procedures.
Elsie Bentley, Vice President, Safety, Health & Environment at PLH Group said, “as I sit here and read through the chain of events, it makes me proud to be part of this organization. I worry daily for our PLH family and the roads they travel on to and from jobsites. I commend our employees for their selflessness and for being good Samaritans.”
Everyone involved sends a huge thank you to the entire TTR Substations Family for utilizing PLH’s core values: Safety, Integrity, Professionalism and Teamwork
Immediately prior the accident, TTR Substations crews are maintaining PG&E’s Spence substation.
TTR Substation Safety Director presents the Spence substation crews with the Random Acts of Safety Award.