Meaningful Impact: Alcornite risks his life to save another

On September 15, 2010, former Director of the Office of Soldiers’ Counsel and current patent attorney Roche Eric Waldkoetter’s life flashed before his eyes. What seemed to be a normal day took a turn for the worse when someone speeding in an SUV hit Waldkoetter as he walked along the intersection of 12th Street and South Eads in Arlington, Virginia, which is close to the Pentagon. Waldkoetter recalls the horrific accident that could have claimed his life.

“Upon being hit on my left side by the SUV, I flipped up and my forehead smashed the windshield. I rolled off the SUV in the middle of the road, unconscious with my head covered in blood and temporarily blinded by the blood,” said Waldkoetter.

The terrible accident left Waldkoetter with a concussion, facial lacerations, nasal bone fracture, a chipped tooth, herniated cervical disks, nerve impingement in his neck, torn left shoulder labrum and rotator cuff, and sever bruising on the entire left side of his body. Until this day, Waldkoetter is still recovering from his injuries by going to physical therapy to manage neck pain.

But thanks to Dentist and Alcorn State alum Dr. Carlos Jones, Waldkoetter received the help he needed to stay amongst the land of the living.

Jones was on his way to work on the day Waldkoetter was hit. When Jones saw that Waldkoetter had been severely injured, he acted immediately by positioning his vehicle in the street so that it could block traffic to prevent Waldkoetter from being run over.

“I saw a person laying in the middle of the street helpless. I knew that he would need help. So without thinking, I pulled over and ran over to offer my help while contacting EMS,” said Jones.

Because of his experience in the medical field, Jones was confident in his ability to administer the proper procedure that would save Waldkoetter’s life.

“I felt good about my decision to help, however at the time I felt it was a decision that any one would make. I felt I could offer assistance from using some of my training that I learned while working in Harlem Hospital E.R. dealing with trauma patients. I just reverted back to my training by remaining calm and focusing on the well being of Eric.”

Since the accident, Waldkoetter has expressed his thanks to Jones for being brave enough to perform such a heroic act of kindness.

“I offer a prayer of thanks every morning for being alive as a result of Dr. Jones actions. I am not bothered much by life’s little problems because I feel every day of life is a gift. I believe it was Dr. Jones preventing other cars from running me over when I was unconscious that saved my life.”

Since the accident, the two men have briefly crossed each other’s paths. In June of this year, Jones testified in Waldkoetter’s personal injury trial. Even though they haven’t had the time to develop an ongoing relationship, they still speak highly of each other.

“From my contact with Dr. Jones, I have found him to be modest, quietly confident and willing to help others. Dr. Jones was willing to risk his life to save my life. Dentists are wonderful people, but prior to Dr. Jones actions, I did not associate dentists with acting in a physically heroic manner,” said Waldkoetter.

“From what I have observed, Eric is a very well mannered person who has a huge heart and very good character. Each time we have spoken, he has been extremely nice. He went the extra mile by contacting Alcorn State so that I could be recognized, which he did not have to do. Eric displays an enormous amount of appreciation and humility. I am honored to have been able to help him in his time of need,” said Jones.

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