west haven

Coast Guardsman, Good Samaritans Help Driver Hurt in West Haven Crash

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Connecticut commuters jumped into action when a tractor-trailer carrying milk crashed on I-95 in West Haven Wednesday.

Connecticut State Police say the driver who lost control was suffering from a medical issue.

"Honestly if I wasn’t there to help somebody else would have helped. This wasn’t about me at all," said Coast Guard Lt. Kastriot Kastrati.

Kastrati commutes daily to New London on I-95.

“Yep, Six in the morning. Driving up 95 and from my peripheral, I can see a tractor-trailer go up it looks like a jersey barrier, and it just rolls over.”

While he doesn’t wasn't his uniform during the drive, he was ready to serve.

"The Coast Guard rarely trains us to rescue people from overturned vehicles," he said. "It’s the motto of the Coast Guard Semper Paratus. We always try to be ready, always ready."

Police said the trailer broke through the guardrail and slid down an embankment before rolling on its side.

Kastrati said he wasn’t the first person to pull over to help, but the lieutenant's leadership skills kicked in as he climbed up into the cab.

"So at that point I began kicking the door while the gentlemen outside were pulling on the door and we managed to get it open and we were able to slide him out and walk him away from the vehicle a safe distance."

He added, "he appeared to be in a very bad state. He had lacerations on his head."

Police arrived moments after the men helped get the driver away from the truck, which was leaking fuel.

"They thanked us for our help and then I had to get back to work. We had a physical fitness test to run that morning."

Thursday, Kastrati’s officer candidates are getting more insight into why their platoon officer was late to work Wednesday.

"It does not surprise me to hear that he stepped in, " said Officer Candidate Megan Grimes. "To initially just go in and have the mindset to want to help someone in that situation when most people would want to run away is really impressive."

Their leader teaching by example outside of officer school, although he’s adamant it’s something anybody would have done.

Kastrati hopes the driver is doing well.

At last update, police said he was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

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