Two teenage girls were seriously injured Tuesday morning when the SUV in which they were riding flipped over end-to-end on a rural Jefferson County road. Help was immediately there. Former Orange County Sheriff Mike White was traveling behind them and stopped.
After years in law enforcement, White is accustomed to crashes and crimes. He knew how to help.
“I was just trying to keep them calm,” he said. “They both had head injuries and were bleeding a lot.”
He talked to them and tried to keep them focused, even though they were in pain. It took about 30 minutes for paramedics to arrive.
The Texas Department of Public Safety said the 16-year-old girl who was driving the SUV had minor had non-serious injuries. Troopers reported she was driving at an unsafe speed, hit a bump in the road and lost control. The SUV flipped several times.
The rollover was about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday on South Pine Island Road near Brooks Road.
White said he was going with some people to check on a job in Liberty County. Some of the group were in the car in front of him and they stopped when they saw the car flipping.
White stopped behind that car and got out. Two of the girls were on the other side of a ditch. He didn’t realize how deep it was until he stepped into the water. He estimated the water was three feet deep and the ditch was about five to six feet deep.
He got on the other side and began working to calm the girls. DPS said a 15-year-old girl had been riding in the front passenger seat and a 16-year-old girl was riding in the back. All the girls are from Beaumont.
White said when paramedics arrived, the girls were able to receive some pain medications. Then the girls were strapped onto back boards and lifted across the ditch.
DPS reported one was taken by medical helicopter to UTMB in Galveston. The other was taken by ambulance to a Beaumont hospital.
White said the girl taken by helicopter has a broken hip. The other girl, taken to St. Elizabeth in Beaumont, had a broken leg. DPS said she also had other broken bones.
He also phoned the girls’ parents and kept them informed about what was happening.
They never knew their roadside angel was a 6-foot-plus former Texas sheriff.
“There was no reason to tell them,” White said.