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Secretary Aids Colleague After Head-On Collision.

Mary Ann Stigliano was halfway home from work when she turned the sharp bend on Route 62, east of Sharon, Pa., near the Ohio border, to find a severely damaged sport utility vehicle lying on its side just off the roadway. Only moments before, it had collided head-on with a pickup truck.

Instead of stopping to help the accident victims, the drivers in front of Stigliano were maneuvering their vehicles around the accident scene and continuing on their way. In the process, these commuters were increasing the risk of the sport utility vehicle toppling over.

As she watched in disbelief, Stigliano, secretary for the deputy superintendent of facility management at the Pennsylvania State Regional Correctional Facility at Mercer (SRCF Mercer), saw the driver in the sport utility vehicle pop his head out of the passenger-side window as he stood on the driver-side window from inside the vehicle, which was still lying on its side. She immediately recognized him as her colleague Guy Harper, a facility maintenance manager at SRCF Mercer.

"It almost was like seeing an injured animal coming out of the ground. That is when I screamed for him to stay there and I pulled over to help," recalls Stigliano. "He was all bloody and I was worried because he had a heart condition. He said to me, 'My heart hurts,' and began to move, causing the truck to teeter."

Afraid that Harper, who was both hurt and disoriented, would attempt to climb out of the vehicle's window, which now was above him, and cause it to roll over, Stigliano told him to stay still. The vehicle was still rocking, so Stigliano ran over and grabbed the back end to steady it while they waited for rescue personnel to arrive.

As Stigliano, a single mother of 13-year-old twin girls, held on to the shaky vehicle with one hand, she used her other hand to call her supervisor from her cell phone, who lives in the area of the accident, and Harper's wife to tell them both what had happened. During that time, vehicles continued to drive around the accident, making an already dangerous situation even worse, upsetting Stigliano, who then yelled for someone to stop the traffic. Finally, a man, who happened to be a work release inmate and was worried about getting back to the correctional facility on time, pulled over to help Stigliano steady Harper's vehicle.

Once emergency personnel arrived, they took Harper, who had a broken rib, bruised kidneys and a bloody nose, to the hospital where his wife, family and doctor were waiting when he arrived, thanks to Stigliano having contacted them. Also, thanks to Stigliano's calls, their supervisor went to the accident scene and gathered Harper's belongings before his vehicle was towed away.

"I got fantastic care. She organized everything," says Harper, a 23-year SRCF Mercer veteran. "I thought that was a pretty doggone heroic thing she did. A lot of times people do not want to stop for an accident for fear of what they may find, but there she was, without a second thought."

In fact, Stigliano admits she does not have a strong stomach when it comes to blood. But in this case, she says, she had no choice because her friend needed her. "It was not until I got home that I actually started shaking," says Stigliano, who has been at SRCF Mercer for nearly 20 years. "I have never been involved in an accident like that. It showed me that something can happen in a split second. You can have no control over your own car."

Since the accident, Stigliano has received so much attention and recognition for her brave actions that she admits she is a bit embarrassed. "Everyone has made such a big deal about it," says Stigliano. "I personally feel it is something that people should do anyway. It is really not a big deal."

Michele D. Buisch is senior editor of Corrections Today.
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Title Annotation:Pennsylvania State Regional Correctional Facility at Mercer 's Mary Ann Stigliano
Author:Buisch, Michele D.
Publication:Corrections Today
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2001
Previous Article:An A+ Career.
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