By Terri Webster Schrandt
The definition of hero ⸺ “a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities” (Oxford online dictionary). The actions of one individual clearly fit this description as Dustin Lyons single-handedly kept his daughter safe while saving the lives of two strangers September 29, 2022.
It was a dark, rainy, evening, and Lyons was following his teenage daughter home from her high school volleyball game in Springdale. As they came to a stop at the portable traffic control device at the Loon Lake construction zone on Highway 395, Lyons noticed headlights approaching from behind at a rapid speed. When the headlights disappeared behind his truck, he thought, “I’m going to have to take this hit!”
His immediate concern was to protect his daughter’s car from the impact. Amidst flying glass from his shattered back window, he immediately jumped out and instructed his daughter to pull over to a safe spot away from the traffic circle and call 911. “I knew more vehicles would be coming through,” he said.
Lyons said, “I owe God everything for sparing my life and my daughter’s life. I originally had no plans to be at her game that night. God put me in the right place at the right time to save the life of my daughter.”
As he returned to the wreckage, both his truck and the Jeep that smashed into his truck had burst into flames. He then noticed a woman partially leaning out of the driver’s seat screaming, “My baby!”
Lyons, trained in both CPR and First Aid through his employer, Knight Construction, quickly pulled her to safety and then frantically searched for the baby but saw only an empty car seat. As he rounded to the passenger side, he found another adult woman knocked unconscious from the impact lying beneath the deployed air-bag.
“When I pulled her out, she was not breathing,” Lyons said. “As I situated myself to perform CPR, she suddenly gasped for breath.” As the other woman continued to scream hysterically, Lyons noticed both women were highly intoxicated.
While carrying the unconscious passenger to the shoulder of the highway, Lyons shouted to bystanders to call 911 and find fire extinguishers. By then, both vehicles were engulfed in flames. Lyons continued to assess and care for the passenger and calm the distraught driver until first responders arrived.
When State Trooper Jeffrey Evers arrived on the scene, he told Lyons they were expecting to enter a scene with fatalities. Instead, both women survived the incident, thanks to Lyons’ actions. One of the women was taken to the hospital and released. The other was arrested for DUI.
Trooper Jeffrey Evers constructed a memo on behalf of the Washington State Patrol recommending Dustin Lyons for the Citizen Life Saving Award. The memo read, in part, “Because of the quick thinking and
actions of Lyons, putting himself in harm’s way, he likely saved the lives of both the occupants of the Jeep, resulting in the outcome of only minor injuries instead of two fatalities.”
The Award (right) was presented to Dustin Lyons by Lieutenant Clark and Trooper Evers on January 6. “I personally appreciate his willingness to put himself in danger to save someone else,” said Clark.