Road warriors save life
By Cpl. Diego Bunuel
First published in
SFOR Informer #98, October 11, 2000
Sarajevo - A bad road accident was backing up traffic on
Python Road a few weeks ago when Staff Sgt. Benton Klock and PO2 Mike
Bettilyon were on a way to a mission in Tuzla from Sarajevo.
"The accident was pretty fresh and I just wanted to pass by because
I don't like getting stuck in traffic," Klock later said as he remembered
how a dump truck had crushed a VW van. "When we drove by I saw the
passenger hanging out, he was dead, but there was still someone inside
alive and he had to be pulled out."
Klock and Bettilyon could not just drive by. They jumped out of their
Humvee, and they tried to pry open the door with a pickaxe.
"The problem is that the frame of the van had been crushed over the
door, there was no way of opening it," said Klock, 25. "When
I tried with the pickaxe I just broke the handle off."
Instead, Klock of the U.S. Marines and Bettilyon, 28, of the U.S. Navy,
drove their Humvee next to the accident and used a winch to rip the back
seat out to free the driver who was still alive. They then towed the van
out from under the dump truck and pulled out the body of the dead passenger.
"You're instincts take over and you do the job," Klock said.
"But I know one thing, I don't want to be an EMT (emergency medical
After the incident their boss at the P3 Imagery Detachment in Sarajevo,
Commander David Mitchell, said he was not surprised that his men acted
the way they did.
"These guys are outstanding and when I thought about the accident,
it took a lot of courage and empathy to help these people," said
Mitchell. "They will be commended for it."
Nations of SFOR: US