ISP Troopers credited with saving Charlestown woman's life - News, Weather & Sports

ISP Troopers credited with saving Charlestown woman's life

The van Malinda Miller-Bell was driving. The van Malinda Miller-Bell was driving.
Trooper Wheeles Trooper Wheeles

JACKSON COUNTY, IN (WAVE) - Some quick thinking by three Indiana State Police Troopers and an everyday item you've used to change a flat are credited for saving the life of a Charlestown, Indiana woman.

Malinda Miller-Bell, 51, found herself trapped, barely able to breath, after a wreck on Interstate 65 in Jackson County Sunday morning. She is stable condition at University of Louisville hospital. From her hospital room, her son Shawn Bell said he is grateful for the ISP Troopers who helped her.

Miller-Bell was driving a mini van north on I-65 around 8 a.m. when Trooper Stephen Wheeles said she was distracted near the Jackson/Bartholomew County line. She crossed the center median, hit the car driven by 89 year-old Vernon Thack before rolling over several times. The van finally stopped in the grass next to the southbound lanes of the interstate.

Trooper Wheeles was only five miles away when the call came in. He was first on scene. When he got near the van, he could hear Miller-Bell crying for help. "I knew she was conscious and alert. I wanted to get where I could talk to her and let her know I was there. We were there to help her."

But he didn't know how long it would stay that way, so he grabbed a baton with a metal end to break the glass of the windshield. He said it was the only way to get to her. "The vehicle was on it's passenger side and she was laying on the ground on that passenger side with her head actually trapped under the vehicle. It was between the vehicle and the ground."

By that point, Troopers Brent Lykins and Korry Clark were there to help. Trooper Wheeles told them to get their jacks. "This was a situation where we kind of had to improvise. I was trying to think of what possibly we had in our possession that we normally carry in our cars that would help us. A jack was obviously the first thing I thought of."

It gave Miller-Bell enough space to breath until firefighters could get her out, get her to the hospital where she is expected to be okay.

Miller-Bell's 15 year-old son was also ejected from the vehicle, but is also expected to be okay. Trooper Wheeles said both were not wearing seat belts and should consider themselves lucky that their injuries were not worse.

Trooper Wheeles said it's a good lesson for everyone out there about distracted driving. Just taking your eyes off the road for a few seconds can lead to a wreck just like the one he dealt with Sunday.

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