CHESHIRE, Conn. (WTNH) — Omar Montoya is an army veteran and Jason Bodell is a detective with the Cheshire Police Department. Until early Monday afternoon, it may have appeared on the surface the only thing these two had in common was a shared hometown, but as it turns out they have nearly identical hearts.
In the southbound lane of Interstate-95 in Branford, seven vehicles plowed into one another. Montoya and Bodell were each driving in their own respective vehicles at the time so without hesitation both pulled over and jumped into action.
“We both jumped over the wall at the same time,” said Bodell. “I heard someone say there’s kids in this car so we ran down.”
Bodell recalls assisting a 12-year-old girl named Reilly Traynor with Montoya.
“We did everything we could to get her out,” said Bodell. “I loosened her seat belt up and she took a gasp of air and started to cry louder.”
Traynor was taken to Yale-New Haven hospital where she is still listed in critical condition. Unable to stop thinking about what happened to her, detective Bodell says he made a trip down south and met with her family on Tuesday. Montoya says he plans to do the same on Wednesday.
“I think they were stronger than I was at that point,” said Bodell.
Montoya and Bodell may appear to be the embodiment of heroes, and while most may think that is a given, bring up the title to them and the two are quick pass along the praise to other first responders.
“I think everybody would have done the same thing,” said Montoya.
Who knows if everything happens for a reason but heaven knows Montoya and detective Bodell were in the right place at the right time.
Montoya and Bodell say West Haven Fire Marshal Keith Flood was also among those who just happened to be near the scene of the accident and too joined in the effort to help before emergency crews arrived.