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Handicapped Women Helps Victim

December 11, 1997

ESTACADA, Ore. (AP) _ A partially paralyzed woman got out of her wheelchair, slid down a wet embankment and crawled to the cab of a wrecked pickup to give first aid to the injured driver.

``I think anybody would have done that,″ Teryl Hoffmann-Figgins said Wednesday. ``You see a car go down a ditch, and I can’t imagine not stopping to help. I’m just glad he’s OK.″

Hoffmann-Figgins, who had gotten training as a physical therapist and emergency medical technician before she became disabled, was going to visit her mother Sunday morning when the pickup in front of her minivan went over the edge.

The driver, Frank Hingley, 77, suffered a minor head injury and was bleeding and disoriented. Hoffmann-Figgins stopped, wheeled herself across the road and saw him.

``She was in that truck before I could say my name,″ said Laura Hayden, who heard the crash and called 911 on her cellular telephone. ``She was just great.″

When paramedics arrived, they pulled Hingley up the embankment and then went back for Hoffmann-Figgins. She got back into her van and went on her way.

Hingley didn’t know about his good Samaritan until Wednesday. He said he remembers hitting a slick spot in the road and losing control.

``It’s really nice of her to help me out,″ he said. ``That’s wonderful.″

Hoffmann-Figgins, 36, injured her neck in 1993 while giving a patient physical therapy. Her legs are permanently paralyzed and she has limited use of her arms. She also has difficulty hearing.

``I kind of felt bad,″ said Hayden, the woman who called 911. ``I thought: `She can’t do anything.′ But it was quite amazing. I was the one who was ineffective.″

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