Haley Goodfellow was studying in her first-floor Terrapin Row apartment on the night of May 1 when her roommate, Jackie Aceri, called her.
“Are you in the apartment? Someone just got hit by a car,” Goodfellow recalled Aceri telling her. “Can you come out here?”
Goodfellow, a senior psychology major and a certified EMT since 2013, donned her slippers and rushed outside to Knox Road. A large crowd of people was on the sidewalk, and a line of cars had stopped near the crosswalk in front of the Dunkin’ Donuts.
Weaving through the cars, Goodfellow made her way to the man who’d been hit. He was lying on the ground with several injuries.
Police responded to the scene at 7:05 p.m., Prince George’s County Police spokesperson Officer Ameera Abdullah wrote in an email. A man was struck by a vehicle, and the driver remained on the scene, she wrote. The man — who was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries — declined to comment.
Amartyo Sen, a senior finance and management major sitting near Dunkin’ Donuts at the time, said he saw the incident unfold.
“I heard some sort of commotion or a shout. When I looked over, I saw the car make contact with the student,” he said. “The impact of the car kind of pushed him back — I’d say a couple feet, he was in the air for a little bit — then he landed on his side.”
When Goodfellow made her way to him, she was prepared for the worst. She said she “snapped into EMT mode” almost immediately. This meant doing what Goodfellow called a rapid trauma assessment: making sure everything was intact physically — his face, arms, legs, muscles and bones — and that he was stable enough to wait for the ambulance.
After this was taken care of, she jumped into a more emotionally supportive role, she said. She told him he would be OK, that there would be flashing lights and noises and people would put him on a stretcher and inspect him. She was hoping to prepare him for the ambulance, and was assuring him that it was all standard procedure. When he started to chuckle, Goodfellow said she felt a little bit better.
“I’m happy that I was at the right place at the right time, I’m happy that I could make him feel comfortable and less terrified,” Goodfellow said. “It’s something that I do and that I love.”
Sen said Goodfellow’s actions were “phenomenal.” He watched from the sidelines with a crowd of nearly 30 students, he said.
“It speaks to how great some students [are],” Sen said. “It was great to see that in action. We didn’t have to necessarily wait for 911 or anyone to show up, and Haley was able to gauge the situation quickly.”
Aceri, a sophomore marketing major, said she knew to call her because “I knew she would be the only person who would know what to do.”
Goodfellow has been an EMT since she was a junior in high school, when she joined the Bethesda Chevy Chase Rescue Squad in Montgomery County as a volunteer firefighter.
Colin Brody, an EMS lieutenant at the Rescue Squad, said Goodfellow drives almost an hour away for her volunteer service at the department, and that she is often there “substantially more than most members.”
Brody said Goodfellow’s service is above and beyond what most members contribute, even though she goes to school. Her quick response during this specific incident, he said, is rare even among certified EMS and firefighter personnel.
“Rarely do we have the opportunity to provide immediate care,” Brody said. “It speaks a lot about her character and training.”
When the police arrived on the scene, Goodfellow told the officers she was an EMT, and they allowed her to continue helping the student for several more minutes, she said. When the ambulance arrived, she stepped back, and disappeared into the crowd.
While Goodfellow’s work is a huge part of her life, it’s not her planned profession. After she graduates in two weeks, she’ll join the Peace Corps and leave for Zambia, where she’ll become a maternal and child health educator.
Helping others in intense situations is an important part of Goodfellow’s life, and she said not doing it could “drive [her] crazy.”
“I love the intensity of the situation,” she added. “It’s a crucial moment in someone’s life, and I think it’s amazing we can be there in that moment.”