MUSKEGON, Mich. -- Patrick Bridges, 27, is thankful to be alive after surviving being hit by a train last week. While he admits it was a bad decision that landed him in the hospital, he's grateful and believes his medical training saved his life.
"I'm pretty confident that God has something really great planned for me," Bridges told FOX 17 Thursday at home in Muskegon.
Bridges is a licensed EMT and Army veteran who served as a combat life-saver from 2006 to 2009 stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington. Now, he's on a long road to recovery and thankful for his second chance.
"Why did God give me another chance?" Bridges recalled wondering last Thursday after the accident. "What is his purpose for me?"
Recalling his thoughts Jan. 12, Bridges says he was out with a friend celebrating his new job in Grand Rapids as a dialysis technician. It was just after midnight when he says he got too close to a train passing along Alabama Avenue NW at Bridge Street NW on Grand Rapids' West side.
"I remember being hit, and I remember my train of thought was still going," he said. "I didn't go to sleep and wake up, everything went dark, but I just was like, 'that train just hit me.'"
As the train was passing by, Bridges recalls trying to grab a cat to stop it from going onto the tracks. He and a witness also tell FOX 17 that he was trying to put change on the tracks to flatten it. That's when he believes something hanging on a box car hit the left side of his head, caught his jacket, and threw him onto rocks.
While he recalls his thoughts immediately after, he regained consciousness and that's when he says his military and EMT training kicked in.
"I was like, 'no, these people are telling me not to move, but they're not controlling this bleeding so I need to do something,'" said Bridges.
He walked across the street inside Kale's Korner Bar and a bartender gave him paper towels to hold to his head and called 911. Bridges says this got his adrenaline pumping and raised his blood pressure from a dangerously low level. While his doctors told him this likely saved his life, rather than lying still on the ground, Bridges also thanks his late father for looking over him.
"When you come so close to dying where the odds are against you and you make it, there's a reason," he said.
Until his new medical insurance kicks in, Bridges is relying on his VA insurance without income for the moment. Loved ones started a GoFundMe page.