"We didn't do anything heroic. Louisiana culture, I think, is known for its hospitality, and so you just don't think at that point, you just know that's the right thing to do."
DESTIN — After helping save someone's life, two Louisiana residents say they don't feel like heroes but that they were just in the right place at the right time.
On Sept. 7, after being hit by a truck and thrown nearly 40 feet through the air, 64-year-old Darla Tressler was left lying in the middle of U.S. Highway 98 near the HarborWalk Village, a crash report from the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office said.
As paramedics rushed to the scene, a group of medically savvy bystanders decided to step in.
"I actually took a left into oncoming traffic to stop the traffic ... because she was thrown into the other lane where she could have been run over again," said Rhonda Bergeron, a nurse practitioner visiting from Louisiana.
With experience in trauma surgery and orthopedic spine trauma, she and another nurse hopped out of her car and ran over to help.
"Some of the bystanders actually wanted to move her, but I was adamant that we did not move her until we could put her on a spine board and secured her neck," Bergeron said.
At about the same time, Paul Azar, a physician also visiting from Louisiana, heard the commotion as he was walking into McGuire's Irish Pub.
"I saw people screaming and yelling, and I saw the traffic stopped," he said. "I ran over ... and realized there was an emergency. ... I offered my services right there with the nurses who were doing a great job and just kind of backed them up and helped them with the vitals."
Emergency responders arrived about 15 minutes later, Azar added. He believed that without the nurses' immediate assistance, Tressler may have lost her life.
According to the crash report, Tressler sustained injuries to her face, head, stomach and leg.
"This lady couldn't have had better people there to take care of her," Azar said. "(The nurses) did most the stuff. I was just kind of with them and backing them up."
After paramedics arrived and Tressler was situated, the Good Samaritans went their separate ways.
The following day, they ironically ran into each other at the beach, where everyone learned they were from the same state, Azar said.
"It was the craziest thing and it turned out that he lives 20 miles from us," Bergeron said. "It really was the silver lining on a terrible story."
A couple weeks later, Tressler reached out to Azar and Bergeron to thank them for their help.
While a rough time may have formed their friendships, it also created a bond that continues to hold strong.
"We didn't do anything heroic," Bergeron said. "Louisiana culture, I think, is known for its hospitality, and so you just don't think at that point, you just know that's the right thing to do."