Taylor Winston, a 29-year-old Marine who had served in Iraq, thought he heard fireworks as he stood with friends to the right of the stage at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas. That was until he saw people screaming and running for their lives while others just dropped to the ground.
Winston and his friend, Jenn Lewis, fled the scene, leaving another buddy, Jason, in the crowd to look after himself and other friends, but Winston and Lewis didn’t bail on Jason completely. Instead, the pair spotted an abandoned truck and used it to take the wounded to the hospital. Not just a veteran of the Marines, Winston has also been to his fair share of country music festivals and figured that there would have to be at least one truck with the keys still in it. “So I just crossed my fingers and it turned out to work out,” Winston said.
“Jenn and I luckily found a truck with keys in it and started transporting priority victims to the hospital and made a couple trips and tried to help out the best we could until more ambulances could arrive,” Winston continued. The pair managed to transport more than 20 people to a nearby hospital in just two trips. Several of Winston’s passengers had serious injuries, such as one woman who had been shot in the neck and chest, however, he is unsure how many people the pair were able to save.
“I can’t be for certain. There’s a few that I don’t think probably made it. They were pretty limp when we were pulling them out of the truck, but they still had a pulse, so I’m hoping for the best,” Winston admitted. “I’m moreso just angry that someone did this, but I just gotta react. I can’t really dwell on it a whole lot.”
Once the pair had completed their trips to the hospital, Winston discovered he had saved a friend’s sister, however, amidst all the madness, he hadn’t been taking any notice of faces. “I was in such a speedy movement I didn’t assess anyone’s faces or anything,” Winston said. “Just wounds and who was most critical. I was just trying to be efficient and get the most serious critical condition people to the hospital first.”
En route to the hospital, Winston and Lewis were able to flag down a police car, who put on the siren and escorted the truck carrying the wounded through the traffic to the hospital, where medical staff were waiting to help victims. Friends have hailed the pair on Facebook as heroes. “I know you didn’t do this for recognition but because it was the right thing to do and that’s what makes you such an incredible human,” Winston’s friend, Jenifer Michelle concluded her message to the former Marine.