Summary: On October 31st, 2011 at approximately 5:09 p.m., there was a car accident in Casper, Wyoming. Four male occupants were in the vehicle. Initial reports stated three of the four occupants were pronounced dead. One of the reported fatalities, Tanner, is the son of a couple who are part of our HOPE family. The following is an account of the HOPE Team of First Responders, who were at the hospital with Tanner and his family, following the accident. (First Responders will be identified by initials)
At approximately 7:51 p.m. on 10/31/11, CP received a phone call from Tanner’s mother, Lori. Lori advised CP that Tanner had been in a serious car accident, and asked CP if she could go to the Emergency Room as Lori and her husband Jeff were en route to Casper from Cheyenne. Upon CP’s arrival at Wyoming Medical Center, she was advised by a Chaplain/Victim Assistance Representative that Tanner had been in a serious car accident and that “he didn’t make it.” She further advised CP that “they had called it” and two other boys had died, as well. CP was told Tanner had been placed on life support for the sole purpose of preserving his organs until his parents arrived to sign/give consent to harvest his organs.
Between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., eight more HOPE First Responders arrived at the hospital. Upon WC’s arrival, he was told by Tanner’s grandmother that Tanner “didn’t make it,” and the hospital staff was just waiting for Lori to arrive so she could see him before harvesting his organs. Upon hearing that Tanner was “gone,” BK stated, “We have been here before and are not doing it again!” The consensus was that the team was not going to settle for the report they were given. AW stated the Neurologist reported to the team that Tanner had severe head trauma and there was a lot of swelling on the brain. He further shared that Tanner was in a coma, unresponsive, and no activity was going on in the brain. He had ruptured the carotid artery in his head, most of his face was broken and there was really nothing they could do for him. After the Dr. left the room, the Chaplain/Victim Assistance Representative came into the room and expressed her condolences. Around 9:30 p.m., the team asked WMC Staff if they could go back to where Tanner was in the ER, to pray over him. Some of the team went to where Tanner was to pray, and some of the team stayed back with Tanner’s grandmother and to wait for Lori. Once with Tanner, the team began to intercede and release life – they prayed and declared life and destiny over Tanner until Lori arrived. Upon Lori’s arrival, she and the team continued to pray over Tanner. TK and JH were quietly praying at Tanner’s feet. Once the nurse began moving the lines from stationary machines to transport machines, in preparation to move Tanner to ICU, BK began praying and prophesying life to Tanner, out loud. At this time, TK stated he felt a “shift,” and Tanner began moving his feet in TK’s and JH’s hands. During this time, CP saw Tanner move his hand, and squeeze Lori’s hand. Lori stated, “He squeezed my hand!” WC also saw Tanner move his left arm “in a meaningful way – not a spasm – I saw it.”
Prior to moving Tanner to ICU and before Lori arrived, WC and AW reported that a Coroner’s Office Representative had come to the gathering room, looking for a family member who could “sign papers” and “release the body.” TK spoke with the Coroner Representative, who shared he was there primarily to offer his condolences to the family, and to discuss options of what to do with “the body.” At one point, TK overheard a member of the ER Management Team ask Tanner’s nurse, “Are you aware this is now a Coroner case?” Tanner’s nurse said she was not aware of this; the ER Management Team member then advised her to make the family aware of this so they could prepare, grieve, etc.
At approximately 10:30 p.m., Tanner was moved from the ER to ICU. It was reported to the team that on the way up to ICU, while in the elevator, Tanner began flailing his arms. Part of the team and family members went to Tanner’s ICU room and other team members stayed in the hallway. BK led the team in the hallway boldly into the courtroom of Heaven, where they petitioned for Tanner’s life. While the team in the hallway was praying, the Pulmonary Doctor in the ICU room shared the following report: “Brain trauma-swelling, otherwise fine, going to give fresh frozen plasma to reverse blood thinning. 12-24 hours crucial. Some pathways working - we have something to work with! Not sure how this will resolve. Injuries to face – cosmetic; brain injury the focus. Want to put in monitoring device in brain to monitor intracranial pressure.” At this point, the team REJOICED at the Dr.’s comment that “we have something to work with,” then began praying for the swelling to go down and the blood to coagulate so the monitoring device could be inserted.
Between 1:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. on November 1st, the team was advised that Tanner’s blood was beginning to clot and the brain swelling was noticeably reduced, so the monitor was able to be placed. The team continued to pray and CP declared there would be no bruising on the brain. Following a CAT scan later that morning, AW reported the Neurologist stated he was amazed that with the amount of trauma, there was no bruising on the brain. Later in the afternoon on Nov. 1st, one of the EMT’s who responded to the accident came to the hospital to check on Tanner. He agreed that Tanner’s case was miraculous – he stated he was told Tanner was “not going to make it.” He repeated he was amazed that Tanner was alive and hoped to see Tanner awake when he arrived for work the following day.
Initial report in the Casper Star Tribune:
November 1st, 2011, 10:57 a.m.
Police investigate the scene of a two-car accident on Bryan Stock Trail on Monday evening in Casper. A vehicle with four passengers cliped a car stopped at an intersection before running off an embankment. Three of the people, including one NCHS student, have been pronounced dead. No one in the stopped car was injured. (Dan Cepeda, Star-Tribune)