HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Kaneohe woman who nearly died after a motorcycle crash got to thank the ambulance crew she says saved her life.
Tasha Coelho doesn't remember much of January 4. She said she had just left her friend's house at about 11:30 a.m. and was riding her motorcycle home.
"What I was told was that I hit a parked car and I flew off my bike. I was ejected off my bike."
"I thought I was going to be pronouncing a dead body," said paramedic Jon Kusano. "She wasn't moving. She was pinned underneath a truck. Driving up to the scene, I didn't think she was going to make it."
Coelho was taken to the Queen's Medical Center in critical condition with a fractured skull, a brain injury and several broken bones.
Coelho said she normally wears a helmet, but wasn't wearing one that morning. Emergency crews cut away a backpack, which they say cushioned her head on impact.
She has kept the black backpack, complete with its cut straps. "To some people it may be a sad memory or something I never want to look at again. But this reminds me of the day I could have, or should have died."
As Coelho continued her recovery she also had a deep need to thank the crew that tended to her during the ambulance ride.
"I was in their hands. They picked me up, did what they had to do, transferred me and made sure I was with the doctors, the surgeons, where I needed to be," she said.
Coelho e-mailed Hawaii News Now on May 10, expressing her wish to thank the paramedics in person. On Friday, she got that wish, as she hugged Kusano and EMT Kim Higa.
"I didn't expect it at all," said Higa. "Usually once we drop off our patients at the hospital we rarely know what happens afterwards."
"We're just there to help her out," said Kusano. "She's the one who does all the work. She had angels with her that day."
Coelho, Higa and Kusano will be together again on Monday at the State Capitol, when Gov. Neil Abercrombie signs a proclamation for Emergency Medical Services week, which begins Sunday.