PORTLAND — Ann-Marie Gribbin-Bouchard was cooking supper at her home on 9th Street on Sunday when a group of neighborhood boys ran into her house and began yelling that someone had been run over by a train.

Gribbin-Bouchard, an athletic trainer at McCauley High School, grabbed a towel and two belts and ran towards the tracks, located behind the woods near her house. On the way, she shouted to her neighbors to call 911.

Following the directions of the boys, she ran about 1,200 feet to the section of tracks close to Harris Avenue. There, she found another woman, Adriane Williams, trying to use a boy’s T-shirt as a tourniquet. On the ground was Matthew Morris, 19, whose right leg was badly mangled after a freight train had rolled over him. He had fallen off the train after jumping on it.

Gribbin-Bouchard strapped the belts around his leg, and Williams helped keep them tight. Within a few minutes, Portland police Sgt. Michael Rand arrived and applied a specially made tourniquet to control the bleeding. Rand is a member of the Special Reaction Team and carries a tourniquet kit with him while on duty.

Police Chief Michael Sauschuck on Tuesday praised the actions of the two women and also the neighborhood boys, who saw the accident while riding on their bicycles on a path along the tracks.

Morris’ leg was amputated at the hospital, but he is expected to recover.

“Everybody down there did an incredible job,” Sauschuck said. “Without questions, top-notch citizens jumped into to help save the victim’s life. It was a true team effort to help this young man survive.”

Morris’ mother, Tracy Rowe, said it’s unbelievable that Williams and Gribbin-Bouchard were able to keep their composure when dealing with such a gruesome injury,

“We are forever grateful that they were there and responded as quickly and smartly as they did,” she said. “Had they not been there, my son would not here, absolutely.”

Doctors at the Maine Medical Center on Tuesday operated on his left leg, which was injured badly. She said the surgery went better than expected and doctors believe they can save that leg.

As a trainer, Gribbin-Bouchard, 42, primarily deals with sprained ankles, cuts and bloody noses.

In this incident, there was so much blood she was initially “freaking out,” but she managed to calm herself down. She also tried to calm Morris by asking him simple questions, such as his name. She said Morris’ friend, Sam Sanders, also spoke with Morris to calm him.

She said four or five boys between the ages of 10 and 14 alerted her to the accident. They are friends of her 10-year-old son and had been playing in her yard that afternoon and knew she was home.

“Those kids — those are the ones who saved his life,” she said.

Williams, who lives nears the tracks on Harris Avenue, had been walking on the path along the tracks with her four-year old son when she heard two frightened boys screaming, “Call 911!”

She said Gribbin-Bouchard arrived by Morris’ side shortly after she did. Once the belts were around Morris’ leg, she pulled on one as hard as she could.

“I held it there until that officer arrived with a real tourniquet,” she said.

Gribbin-Bouchard, who has three children, ages 4, 7 and 10, said she won’t let her children go on the Riverton Rail Trail without her supervision.

“I don’t let my kids go without me, and they certainly won’t be gong there now — ever.”

 

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