Commuting employee unintentionally transforms into highway hero

Written by: Steve Leon

Ronald L. Thomas, Jr.
Ronald L. Thomas, Jr.
“I have never taken that route to the University of Phoenix southwest campus. I was leaving the job to work on my dissertation paper,” said Human Resources Assistant Ronald L. Thomas, Jr. Yes, it was a relatively routine Monday evening on April 4, but then, things changed.

“On Monday on his way home, he was on Lake Mead Parkway and the I-215 exit right in front of Fiesta Casino, where he witnessed a red sports car hit an SUV and one other vehicle,” said Chonette Taylor-smith, Staffing and Classification Group Manager. “The impacts were so bad that the red sports car began smoking, when it hit the car. The driver was semiconscious. Ron and another driver ran to the vehicle as it was smoking and fire was beginning to emerge from the engine and got the driver out of the car to safety. The front of the car engulfed in flames once they got the driver out.”

The situation began about 6:30 p.m. and Thomas was alone in his vehicle. As soon as he saw the collision, “I turned on my hazard lights then jumped out of the car to help the victims. I just wanted to get the victims to safety before the car engine ignited or a gas tank explosion,” he said. Thomas, who has undergone CPR and injury training, has never witnessed an accident such as this.

At the same time that Thomas took action, another driver responded as well, both without regard their safety. “We both jumped out at the same time and it was an instantaneous reaction from the both of us,” he said.

“Per her [the victim] request, I called her husband and told him about the bad accident and the location,” Thomas. “After the phone call, I stood beside her until the police and paramedics arrived to the scene of the accident.”

“Ron is an HR Assistant on the Staffing and Classification Team and he is new to Reclamation,” said Taylor-smith. “When talking to Ron about what happened, he wasn't looking for accolades, he was just talking to me like it was something that he would do in any situation. He saw a woman needed help and that the car could blow up and there was no way that he would let something like that happen to anyone. He did what he had to do. Ron is a hero and we are so proud of him for a selfless act.”

“This is my first Federal job,” said Thomas, who has worked for the LC Region for about 50 days. “I am a 20-year retired Air Force veteran from Nellis Air Force Base.”

“I thank God that the gas tank did not explode and I am very pleased that no one was killed in the accident,” he concluded. “If the roles were reversed, I would want someone to help me in the same scenario.”

Published on April 15, 2016