Firefighters recount saving life of woman after car cut in half



Video report by Erika Flores

Posted on March 29, 2014 at 5:21 PM

Updated Saturday, Mar 29 at 5:40 PM

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PHOENIX -- A woman whose car was cut in half in a collision with a city bus Wednesday is still fighting for her life after being revived by Phoenix firefighters.

When firefighters arrived at the scene on Cave Creek Road near Peoria Avenue, they were prepared for the worst.

"It was odd because the front half of the car was approximately 20 yards away from the rear portion of the car," said Brad Salyer, a firefighter and paramedic on Phoenix Engine 27.

Police say 33-year-old Anna Marie Wasbotten was driving a 1955 Ford Thunderbird south on Cave Creek Road when she traveled into the northbound lanes for unknown reasons and collided with a northbound Valley Metro bus.

Firefighters had already received reports that the woman was dead.

"She wasn't breathing. She had no pulses," Salyer said.

But when they hooked Wasbotten up to a heart monitor, they realized there was still hope.

"When you're in that condition, it's generally a very slim chance of survival," said acting Capt. P.J. Dean. "Basically, we just took a look at her and we just felt that despite being a trauma code, despite having a lot of odds against her, we wanted to basically dig in, do our job ... and treat her as much as possible in hopes that she'd fall into that 2 to 3 percent and be successfully resuscitated."

"You know what you have to do," Salyer said. "You know that that patient needs help and you know that you can only do so much intervention before that patient perishes."

The firefighters were able to get her heart pumping again and she was transported to a hospital for further treatment.

"It's a very rewarding feeling," Salyer said.

Police say she is still in extremely critical condition.