Hero honored for saving girl’s life

Charlotte Guedry
Laura Hall presented a plaque to Chris Barrios, the man who saved her life by removing her from a wrecked automobile with the jaws of life near Sorrento.

Theologian John Wesley, who lived in Britain during the 1700s, is credited with saying, “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as you can.”

At the Town Hall in Sorrento on Jan. 22, a man was honored for doing just that.

In October of 2010, Laura Hall was traveling to Baton Rouge along Interstate 10 when her car veered off the road. She ended up in trees, with her car engulfed in flames. If not for the quick thinking of a man named Chris Barrios, the outcome could have been a tragedy.

Barrios was traveling to Monroe to lead training for volunteer firefighters, and noticed the fire and the flames. With over 27 years of fire service under his belt, he quickly did what was required.

Barrios had the jaws of life in the back of his truck, and knew that the young lady needed to get out of her vehicle immediately.

“Someone else got out of their car and said she didn’t have a pulse, but an off-duty paramedic had stopped as well, and said she did,” said Barrios. “I knew I had to get her out of that car.”

“Chris sells rescue equipment, and the night before the accident, he was planning on  cleaning stuff out of his truck, “ said Sorrento Chief of Police Earl Theriot. “For some reason, he thought he should probably keep the jaws of life in there. It’s a good thing he did.”

Barrios did get Hall out of the vehicle, and with the assistance of other people, managed to keep Hall safe as they waited for an ambulance to arrive. By a stroke of luck, the people that had stopped ranged from off-duty doctors to off-duty hospital personnel.

“There was even a military convoy coming through at the time,” said Barrios. “I ended up with about 20 fire extinguishers from them. It was like everything just fell into place.”

Hall was taken to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital to recover from her injuries. She had a broken neck, and her family was told she would suffer serious brain damage. Fortunately, though, Hall is, according to her mother, “the same if not better than she ever was.”

Hall was honored to be able to present Barrios with his Life Saving Award on behalf of the town and people of Sorrento.

“This means so much to me. Especially that I am actually here to present this award. Chris saved my life. I don’t know what to call it, maybe a statistical anomaly or the work of God. Whatever it was, it was remarkable,” said Hall.

Barrios was overcome with emotion at the event. “It’s wonderful just being able to stand here and look at her; just knowing she’s okay. All the years I’ve spent doing what I do, being trained to do, paid for itself in that one moment. It’s hard to explain, I’m just so honored.”