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Star athlete & doctor critically injured helping crash victims

Posted at 4:43 PM, Apr 03, 2017

Around the same time that Dr. Cynthia Ray stopped on the freeway on her way to work to help a number of crash victims, 17-year-old Sean English and his parents also stopped to see how they could help.

No one could have predicted that they would be risking their lives to save others.

But as they were on the shoulder of eastbound I-96 near the Davison freeway, another driver, suspected of drinking and driving, lost control near the crash site and slammed into the vehicles that were on the side of the freeway.

Sean would suffer injuries to his right foot so severe that it would have to be amputated.

Ray, a physician at Henry Ford Hospital, was struck and left unconscious.

MSP Trooper Patrick Arena was first on the scene and able to grab a tourniquet from his first aid kit and place it high and tight around Sean's right thigh to keep the teen from bleeding to death. Sean's left leg was also broken, but the teen remained conscious and calm thanks to Trooper Arena and Sean's mother who continued to keep him from looking at his injuries and going into shock.

But when it came to Ray, Arena was only able to determine she was breathing and had a pulse.

"She had no external injuries that I could see and that's why I couldn't do anything for her because had she had cuts, scrapes, I could have bandaged those up," said Trooper Arena. "If she wasn't breathing and didn't have a pulse, I could have done CPR. That was my first thought. But she had no injuries that I could really tend to."

Investigators say the first crash occurred Sunday morning around 7:50 a.m. when the driver of a Jeep carrying 6 teenagers hit a open manhole on the left shoulder of the freeway causing a tire to blow and the driver to lose control. The Jeep rolled, but it doesn't appear any of the occupants suffered any serious injuries.

Dr. Ray came upon the crash at around the same time Sean and his parents did. They all got out of their vehicles to try to assist the crash victims that were in the left lane and on the left shoulder.

Moments later, investigators say a 17-year-old driver suspected of being under the influence of alcohol lost control near the crash site and slammed into the stopped vehicles.

Both Dr. Cynthia Ray and Sean English remain listed in critical condition, but Sean is awake. 

Sean, a junior at University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy, is a track star who was set to break school records this year. After the crash, his right foot had to be amputated.

Sean and his parents were headed to a church in Detroit where he was supposed to sing in the school choir.

Principal Anthony Trudel calls Sean a "selfless" young man who aims high for his own achievements while supporting and motivating others to do their best. He also runs on cross country and participates on the pastoral team.

Dr. Ray is a physician at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. She was on her way to work when she stopped to help the victims of the first crash. She remains in critical condition at Sinai Grace Hospital in Detroit with her family by her side.

A spokesperson for Henry Ford Hospital released the following statement Monday:

We were so saddened to hear the news about Dr. Cynthia Ray. Ray has been with the Henry Ford family since 2005 and is widely known as a stellar physician and kind, compassionate colleague. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Ray’s family and the entire Henry Ford pulmonary team

That unidentified 17-year-old driver who caused the horrific secondary crash also remains in critical condition, according to state police.