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Posted May 24, 2012 | comments 12 Comments

Woman hailed as hero recalls crash scene drama

By Joe Beck -- jbeck@nvdaily.com

Tiffany Shipe is not an emergency room doctor or EMT, but she nearly performed like one Saturday night while saving the life of a severely injured girl in a car crash near her home.

One moment Shipe was standing on the porch outside her trailer home with her mother, Debbie. Then came two sounds that would change her life.

"Me and mom was standing out on the porch, and we heard this loud bang and then a second later we heard somebody scream, and we immediately got in the vehicle and went down the road," Shipe recalled in an interview Wednesday.

By the time she returned home a few hours later, her clothes were soaked in the blood of Jymi Rudolph, one of the crash victims. Tiffany Shipe, a single mother and pizza parlor waitress who learned a little first aid and CPR in high school, had saved Rudolph's life.

The accident scene on Mt. Hebron Road was about a mile from Shipe's home on Waxwing Lane. Shipe, 20, said she and her mother arrived to find found four teenagers walking around the crash scene and a 2001 Saturn with its air bags deployed.

Virginia State Police have said five teenagers from Strasburg High School were riding in the car when it went off the side of Mt. Hebron Road around 10:50 p.m. The driver, Colby Cooper, has been ticketed for reckless driving and state patrol investigators say speed was a factor in the crash.

"I went to the car, and that's when I seen Jymi lying in in the back seat, covered in blood from head to toe, and she wasn't responsive," Shipe said.

EMTs were still minutes away when Shipe got her first look at the injured Rudolph. For the next few minutes, Shipe literally held Jymi Rudolph's life in her hands.

"I got in there with her, and it was just me and her, and she was not responding, and she was barely breathing," Shipe said. "Her mouth and nose was full of blood.

"So I stuck my fingers in her mouth and cleaned all the blood out from her mouth and nose, and she started breathing better then. I checked her pulse, and she did have a pulse. And then I kept her neck still if there was any neck injuries. And I had taken her seat belt off because it was digging into her stomach.

"The main thing, I just kept her breathing. She kept choking on her blood, so I kept cleaning it out, and I attempted mouth to mouth (resuscitation)."

By then, the unconscious Rudolph was breathing "OK," and she still had a pulse, Shipe said.

Shipe didn't know the victims, but the harrowing circumstances helped forge a bond between them.

"I was talking to her, and I told her God is watching over her, and her family and friends love her, and then she squeezed my hand like she knew I was helping her," Shipe said.

In about 10 minutes, the EMTs arrived and took over, but Shipe's work wasn't done.

Shipe said the other girl riding in the car appeared to be in shock. Shipe said she walked her over to the ambulance to get her checked out by EMTs.

Shipe described herself as "drenched" in Rudolph's blood and made her own visit to Shenandoah Memorial Hospital that night to make sure she hadn't picked up any infections. She said she returned home between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m., but images of the injured girl she had saved haunted her that night and continue to do so.

"I haven't been able to sleep since then," Shipe said.

In saving one person's life, Shipe may changed her own.

The searing experience by the side of Mt. Hebron Road has opened up new career possibilities and relationships for her. Shipe said she is looking forward to meeting members of Rudolph's family for the first time this weekend at her home. Beth Rudolph, Jymi's aunt, repeatedly praised Shipe at a meeting held Tuesday night to give the public an update on her niece's condition.

"With all the things going on, we don't want to forget about Tiffany," Beth Rudolph told the audience. If you don't know Tiffany and want to get to know Tiffany, send her something. Tell her 'thank you for what you did that night.'"

"A lot of people cannot respond that way," Beth Rudolph added. "A lot of people cannot react the way she did."

Shipe said she now thinks differently about her own life.

"Because of this, I would like to get into the medical field, be a paramedic or something," Shipe said. "But more than anything, I'm just grateful for each day I'm given."

12 Comments | Leave a comment

    Thank you NVD for featuring a story on a young person doing something good for a change. Way to go Tiffany Shipe for stepping up to help this young girl in her time of need, you both will be greatly blessed.

    God surely needed that evening. A hero never once thinks of themselves..but of others. She is a HERO in my eyes. Thank you for all you do Tiffany Shipe. And know that the world is blessed to have such a wonderful person!!

    This is wonderful! Tiffany, you should most definitely become a paramedic! Not many people can respond the way you did and considering you did it with no formal training, you clearly have a gift! I can only hope that if something tragic like this were to happen one of my loved ones, that you or someone like you will be there to help!

    Way to go Tiffany! Being able to keep a cool head and actually think, saved this young girl's life. Sure hope Jymi recovers from this terrible crash without irreversible damage.

    Good to know there are still people like Tiffany out there.

    Thank you Tiffany for getting involved instead of doing the easy thing of standing back and letting someone else get involved! You are a wonderful human being and I encourage you to move ahead and keep helping others! Much thanks for what you did for those kids, especially Jymi! God Bless you!

    Tiffany, this article made me shed a tear and I don't hardly ever tear up. Way to go. I hope you get everything you deserve in life, plus some. I also hope that Jymi is doing good.
    On a side note to Joe Beck. Why would you even report her home as a "trailer home"? What did the word trailer have to do with her saving someones life? Probably in your mid forties still living with mom and dad?

    Why didn't you mention the cleanliness of the car after the accident? Like maybe there were mcdonalds bags in there or soda cans? Did it look like it was detailed before the accident? Just like a story about the guy attempting to make meth. Someone reported that it was a "run down" house. I've been in some trailers that I would love to have and call home.

    God Bless you Tiffany! Thank you for not being afraid to "get involved", you certainly saved this young lady's life. God has given you a signal for your future, now grow with it. Prayers, love and hugs continue from all of us in WV for Jymi and all the teens involved.

    Tiffany, it's all been said above but again God bless your beautiful life and your loved ones. You are an inspiration to our community and to people around the world! As a nation in need of people like you THANKS on behalf of us all. We wish you well in pursuing your new medical career goals. Our prayers are with you and yours, along with the accident victims, especially Jymi and her full recovery.

    Tiffany, life is not easy and stepping into an accident scene to help an injured person is difficult and often life changing. Your lack of sleep is "post traumatic stress", it can occur for varying reasons, from any number of situations, but sleep will return, just keep in mind the good deed you've done and the many lives you've touched.

    Thank you for your help, stay strong and all the best to you and yours.


    Bless you Tiffany for what you did for those young people.They were very lucky you lived so close and had a cool head.You would make a great medical professional.Please go for it ,we can use all the help we can get.And if you need please seek a counselor for yourself to deal with what you went thru at the scene. It was very tramatic for you also. Thank you for being who you are.A living Angel.


    This girl put herself into a very dangerous situation climbing into a wrecked car in who knows what condition. She could have been severely hurt, or worse. She OBVIOUSLY didn't think about her own safety when she did this. That's the REAL meaning of hero isn't it? This girl has more stones than alot of guys I know. Tiffany,,,Don't just be a Paramedic! I used to know a guy who's sister was a flight nurse. When she was on the ground, doing usual work, she made $35 an hour. But as soon as she got in the chopper, she made $100 an hour. And that was close to 20 years ago! I think your made for that kind of job.

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