By some stroke of serendipity, the unoccupied utility van was left with keys in the ignition — so it became a makeshift ambulance.
After climbing over fences to escape gunfire at the Las Vegas concert Sunday night, Taylor Winston, of San Diego, spotted the white truck and looked inside. “It was a utility vehicle, and I knew that sometimes keys are left behind for the next driver,” said Winston, 29, who was stationed at Camp Pendleton while serving with the Marines.
Dozens of badly injured people, carted away from the concert area by companions, lay nearby with wounds. Winston and a friend set to work.
“We started grabbing people and loading them in the truck,” Winston said. “Some were in critical condition. We took a full load to the hospital and then came back for more.”
Winston estimates that he ferried around 30 people to the hospital, where emergency workers waited to take over.
When he returned for a third round, Winston realized enough ambulances had shown up to assist victims.
Winston parked the van a few blocks away, meaning to locate its owner the next morning. By the time he returned, it had been towed.
“It now has blood all over it,” Winston said.
He might never know the fate of those he shuttled to safety. “I didn’t get any names,” Winston said. “I was trying to be as efficient as possible.”
As an Iraq war veteran, Winston is no stranger to life-and-death situations.
“I’m just happy I was able to help,” he said.
©2017 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.), Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.