An EMT and emergency room technician who lives on Berkshire Valley Road was among the first on the scene of a head-on collision two weeks ago that has left an East Hanover woman still in a coma.
Andrea Fornelos, 21, was "battered" and didn't have a pulse when Caitlyn Laughlin reached the severely damaged Volkswagon Golf that Fornelos was driving on Sept. 27.
“I didn’t see the accident, but I heard the crash. I didn’t see anything at first, then I looked a little further down and saw the traffic. I went to see if I could help out and got there at the same time as the police officers,” Laughlin said.
“When I got there I saw Andrea and she was pretty battered. She ended up in the passenger’s seat of the car. I didn’t feel a pulse and she wasn’t breathing.”
With the help of a Jefferson Township police officer, whose name Laughlin didn’t recall, but who police officials confirmed was Chris Quidort, Laughlin got Fornelos into the back seat of the car, where she was able to get Fornelos breathing again.
“It probably took me about two or three minutes to get to her, and with the officer’s help we had her in the back seat within about 30 seconds,” Laughlin said. "The officer who was there was very strong. He moved her safely and quickly. He deserves a lot of credit.”
Laughlin said about 10 minutes later, the rescue squad arrived and she did what she termed a “transfer of care,” telling the squad members what she had done for the victim.
“They took her to Morristown Medical Center,” Laughlin said.
She said she gave police officers on the scene her contact information and asked if they needed any further information from her. She said she has yet to hear from the police.
“If Officer Quidort helped Ms. Laughlin move Ms. Fornelos to the back seat, he must have talked to her at that time,” Police Capt. Eric Wilsusen said. “There would not be reason to speak to her again.”
Fornelos' mother, Angelina, called Laughlin “an angel."
"She was placed there for a reason," Angelina Fornelos said. "She went above and beyond. She had just gotten home from an overnight shift at the hospital, she was tired, but she responded.”
According to Angelina Fornelos, her daughter has received two summonses for not wearing a seat belt and for crossing the double-yellow line in the crash.
Erika Bath, 16, of Newton, was driving the other vehicle with a learner's permit with her father, Richard Gannon, 53, of Wantage, as the passenger. The two were transported to the hospital with moderate injuries.