Iria Wolnick was on her way to her mother’s funeral when she ended up preventing another. The 36-year-old came upon a fiery crash on a highway in rural Texas after midnight last July 5, and her heroics were honored by Texas law enforcement yesterday morning. The San Jose woman found 19-year-old Niser Saldana-Quilantan in a field. She, along with her 2-year-old and the child's father, had been thrown from an SUV after it hit a tree, rolled over, and caught fire, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Saldana-Quilantan "kept asking 'Ma'am how’s my baby? How’s my baby?" Wolnick recounts, according to KTVU. "I thought she was asking about the toddler, but then I looked down and saw her stomach"—an unborn child's head and arm were protruding from a severe cut in it. A mother of four with only first aid training, Wolnick explains, "You sort of have an idea what needs to happen. Making sure the umbilical cord is tied, preventing blood from coming out… I sprung into action," assisted by a truck driver who used a shoelace on the umbilical cord. Saldana-Quilantan was pronounced dead when she arrived at the hospital, but the 6-pound, 11-ounce baby girl survived. “It has changed my life for good," Wolnick says. "The baby will be in my thoughts forever… You get a new perspective on life." The other passengers survived without serious injury. (Read more heroism stories.)