LYNDEN, Wash. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), officers from the Kenneth G. Ward Port of Entry in Lynden aided victims of a three car accident involving nine people May 1.
It was 2:15 p.m., when a Ford Mustang, a box truck and a Ford Explorer collided, injuring nine people, 3.5 miles southeast of the port facility. Five CBP officers were on their way home from their assigned place of duty when the horrific crash took place.
CBP Officer Phillip Top witnessed the accident and was first on the scene to render assistance. The former emergency medical technician immediately went to the highest priority individual, a man who had been partially ejected through the back window of his Mustang. Top supported the man’s head and neck while offering comfort before medical personnel arrived and extracted him via the Jaws of Life.
CBP Officer Andrew Cooper helped the driver out of his mangled box truck while keeping an angry driver at bay who wanted to cause more harm to the trucker. Cooper took the injured man to his own pickup and laid him down to await medical assistance. He also assisted with traffic control and helped Officer Top with seriously injured passengers in the Mustang.
Sumas Port of Entry Chief Darren Elsby stayed with the injured truck driver and gave comfort and reassurance until the medical team arrived. Elsby aided the Washington State Patrol with identifying witnesses, helping triage the injured and traffic control.
CBP Officers Edward Spangler and Coire King directed traffic while fellow officers helped extract the injured from their vehicles. They also provided crowd control as family members arrived on the scene looking for their loved ones.
U.S. Border Patrol agents and Whatcom County Sheriff deputies were also on site.
“The CBP Officers that rendered the initial assistance are true heroes. They quickly jumped into action among the twisted metal, broken glass and injured bodies,” said Port Director Phillip Stanford. “With seven emergency response vehicles, a tow truck and the untold number of personnel on site, everyone had to keep their composure and our CBP folks led the way for over two hours.”
Five of the injured people were taken to St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham and four others were treated at the scene.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.