It’s the simple things that keep Phil Frazier going as he recovers from a tumble off a Prosser overpass that almost ended his life.
Like the view of the Puget Sound from his Seattle hospital bed. Or the joy he felt when he crossed his feet again for the first time.
He thinks of the state trooper and dispatcher who were instrumental in his rescue, as well as the generous community that has rallied to his support.
Frazier, 41, of Prosser, is making progress in his long road to recovery. Each day he feels his body getting stronger as his shattered pelvis and broken bones heal.
He spent almost two hours in a swampy ditch last month after he stopped to assist in a car crash. Another vehicle forced him to jump off the overpass when it almost hit him.
Frazier was found by State Trooper Nathan Parent, who had cleared the crash scene on Interstate 82 near milepost 78 and noticed Wendy Frazier in her car on the side of the road. She had stayed in the car to call 911 while her husband went to help and then disappeared.
Parent calmed Wendy down and got her off the interstate to a nearby rest stop. He then requested a police officer to help him search for Frazier along the dark highway.
“I was worried he was injured somewhere,” Parent said.
Parent connected with State Patrol dispatcher Bethany Lynch, and the pair started to talk the situation out together. Lynch, a 15-year dispatcher, remembered a previous incident in which a man fell off an overpass near Wapato and died.
Lynch said she relayed that information to Parent and told the trooper to look under nearby overpasses. Soon, Parent heard Frazier calling for help and climbed down the embankment to the wounded man.
First responders pulled Frazier from the ditch and took him to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland for treatment.
Lynch told the Herald she got chills down her spine when she heard over the radio that Parent found Frazier alive.
“I couldn’t believe that’s where he was and Trooper Parent had found him,” she said. “(Parent) really went the extra mile.”
Parent said he credits Lynch’s intuition and ability to guide him to the overpass with helping to find Frazier in such a short period of time. He found Frazier about 15 minutes after Parent organized the search.
“She got me started in the right direction,” Parent said. “She is definitely a big part of how we found him.”
Frazier said he wants to come back to Benton County to start therapy with the hopes of walking soon. He is optimistic he could be back at work in six months.
“I can move my legs now. I actually got to cross my feet for the first time today,” Frazier said from his bed at Harborview Medical Center. “I laid on my sides for the first time too.”
However, physical and mental pain also fill the days at Harborview. Frazier still is immobile, and six broken ribs and other injuries make sleep hard. He misses his wife, Wendy, and teenage daughter, who are staying at a mobile home park in Prosser.
Frazier recently moved the family to Prosser from Idaho to take a job helping develop a farm. Doctors told him his injuries might prevent him from returning to his job as a carpenter.
The local community and many others rallied around Frazier, who didn’t have medical insurance, as he battles to get healthy. Donations stand at around $15,000. The money will help the Fraziers get through the next six months.
“I am in awe. So many people have told me how awesome I am for being a Good Samaritan,” Frazier said. “What people don’t realize is every single one of those people who donated is a Good Samaritan. Every one of those donations is a random act of kindness.”
Frazier said he thinks about the diligence of Parent and the instincts of Lynch as he sits in a specially designed chair and peers out onto the Seattle skyline. He knows that without their teamwork, he wouldn’t be around to take in such a beautiful view.
“This is a miracle,” he said.”We are living a miracle. You just appreciate life so much more.”
To donate to the Fraziers, go to www.gofundme.com/gksbk0.