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'From mom mode to rescue mode': Holland woman jumps into action after getting in 3-vehicle crash

Staci Kouw, who was trained as a certified medical assistant, helped a 66-year-old man after he was knocked unconscious in the accident
Holland Crash Rescue
Posted at 3:37 PM, May 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 14:00:15-04

HOLLAND, Mich. — A woman driving to Tulip Time with her daughter and mother jumped back into her former role as a certified medical assistant after they were involved in a multi-vehicle crash on Sunday.

It was around 11:47 a.m. Sunday when Staci Kouw, her mother, and her 9-year-old daughter, were driving towards downtown Holland to watch her niece perform as a "Dutch Dancer" in the annual Tulip Time festival.

Like most weekends during Tulip Time, the roads were packed with cars trying to find their way through the festivities and crowds.

Kouw's vehicle was near the intersection of Chicago Dr and E 8th St when the crash happened.

Police say a blue Ford Focus was trying to make a left hand turn into a private drive, when they pulled out in front of a red Ford Escape, being driven by a 66-year-old Holland man.

The vehicles collided, and the Escape was pushed into Kouw's car.

"The car that got thrown into us took the worst of it," she told FOX 17 Monday afternoon.

“I was in the backseat, and could see out the rear window that the driver of the red car was unconscious. So. I just told my mom to call 911, and I got out.”

Kouw told her 9-year-old daughter to stay in the car, but she jumped out and into action.

"She was scared... I think she was more scared because I had to switch from mom mode to rescue mode," she explained.

She was able to get her herself into the 66-year-old man's vehicle to check on him.

“Once I got in his car, when I saw that he was unconscious, he had a pulse. It was strong, but it was rapid,” she said.

All of her prior training as a certified medical assistant snapped back, and a focused calm took over.

“The training never goes away. It's like riding a bike... It just comes right back and you know what to do,” she explained.

“His airway was being kind of cut off because his head was dangling so far down, so I just held his head up in place to keep his airway open."

Kouw was able to keep the man stable, and keep the other driver calm enough until paramedics arrived on scene.

She later made a post on a Zeeland-focused Facebook group, asking if anyone knew how the man was doing after the accident. The post received numerous comments thanking Kouw for her presence on scene.

While the 66-year-old man was taken to a nearby hospital with "serious" injuries, police tell FOX 17 that they were not life-threatening, and that he is expected to recover.

The driver of the blue Ford Focus was not injured in the crash, but was cited by police for making an improper left turn.

Holland Crash
Location of Sunday's crash in Holland (Chicago Dr. & E 8th St.)

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