A senior non-commissioned officer faced a near death experience when he was thrown from his motorcycle on I-19 in Tucson, March 27, prompting a fellow Airman to pull-over to rush to his side.
Master Sgt. David Alderton, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Force Protection, was traveling north-bound at the rate of 75 miles-per-hour, when a semi-truck tire shredded and blew into the path of his motorcycle. He was unable to avoid the shredded tire and was thrown from his motorcycle, skidding across the interstate… totaling his motorcycle.
After recovering from the initial shock, Alderton sat in disbelief trying to process what had happened just a few seconds prior. While watching a steady stream of vehicles pass by him during the morning rush to get to work, he tried to regain his composure.
“It all happened in the blink-of-an-eye,” said Alderton. “The tire blew, came into my lane and I knew (I just knew) that I was going to hit it…next thing I know, I’m rolling down the interstate. I was pretty shook-up from the whole ordeal and was sure I had some serious injuries but wasn’t feeling them because I thought I was in shock.”
Many cars stopped but only one individual stood out to Alderton, a fellow Airman assigned to the 355th Maintenance Group at Davis-Monthan AFB.
Tech. Sgt. Aaron Metrejean was just two cars behind Alderton when the accident happened. He watched the semi-truck next to Alderton blow a tire and fly directly into Alderton’s path.
“The car directly behind him swerved around and then I saw Master Sgt. Alderton tumble down the freeway directly in front of my truck,” said Metrejean. “I’ve been in a motorcycle accident myself…so I had a good idea of where he was mentally and knew he needed someone to help him, so I pulled over, ran up to him, got right in front of him asked ‘are you alright,’ but he didn’t know…I told him to lay down and that help was on the way.”
While another passerby called 9-1-1, Metrejean checked Alderton for signs of bleeding and broken bones.
“I knelt down next to him, checked him over, told him that he wasn’t bleeding and had no broken bones and reassured him by saying ‘just hold still and help will be here right away,’” said Metrejean.
While Metrejean waited for emergency responders to arrive, he calmed Alderton by asking him about where he worked, his family, told him about himself and tried to keep him from stressing out about the situation.
“In the end he held it together like a champ,” said Metrejean. “We’ve been able to touch base with each other through email and text messaging and he told me he came out with just a few bumps and bruises and thanked me for helping him.”
“In my eyes, Tech. Sgt. Metrejean acted as a true wingman and a selfless hero,” said Alderton.
Luckily, Alderton was wearing all of his motorcycle personal protective equipment.
“I always wear a helmet when I ride, but if the weather is nice I don’t wear the protective coat with pads… I just wear a long sleeve shirt,” said Alderton.
Had that been the case that morning, he would have received serious injuries to both his elbows and arms, which is apparent by the damage that occurred to his Kevlar motorcycle jacket and his helmet.
Alderton was transported to the trauma center at The University of Arizona Medical Center, treated for minor abrasions and released a couple of hours after the accident.