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Navy veteran helps save life of man who lost leg in crash

Navy veteran helps save life of man...

SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane man lost part of his leg in a horrific car crash last Wednesday. Now he's recovering at the hospital, thanks in part to a Good Samaritan who stopped to help.

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office said Silas Fairbanks crossed the center line last week on Argonne and hit a flatbead trailer coming the other way. The collision ripped off the drivers side door, and his seatbelt.

Fairbanks was ejected from the car, and part of his leg was severed.

Fairbanks thinks he must have been drowsy that afternoon as he was driving back from a construction job in Rathdrum.

"Somewhere along the way I lost consciousness and I don't remember actually what happened, but from the photos it's not pretty what happened," Fairbanks said.

Now, Silas is recovering at Sacred Heart. He doesn't remember the crash, or the first few days in the hospital.

He said he is taking things day by day.

"I'm amputated midway done the shin, about six inches down below the knee cap," Fairbanks said.

But he says things could've been much worse, and that's largely thanks to a stranger who stopped to help right after the crash.

"I blocked my work van, blocked traffic, threw on my hazards and just took off running up to the scene," said Donald Cunnington, who came upon the crash soon after it happened.

Don Cunnington is a Navy veteran. He said jumped into action, using his combat training to help Silas.

"I treated him as needed, and basically I knew he was going to go into shock and I laid down right next to him and grabbed his hand and waited," Cunnington said.

Cunnington said there was a handful of people who helped Silas that day, and it was amazing how a group of strangers pulled together to help him.

On Sunday, the two reunited.

"When I actually got to go meet Silas in the hospital, it was just amazing because I was so close to his face I saw all the suffering, I needed to see him ok and smile and it was just a surreal thing," Cunnington said.
"It was emotional because I had heard about him and had heard the story, and knew if he wasn't there, I probably wouldn't be here today," Fairbanks said.

Silas says he's spent the past week learning to accept his new reality, and has been overwhelmed by the support of his family and the community.

"Don't be afraid to let your community and anybody rally behind you," he said. "That's been one of the biggest things for me to keep my hopes high."

Silas is an avid volleyball player, and says it will be difficult on him if he can no longer play.

But he will soon start rehab, and is hopeful with a prosthetic leg, he can get back to his job in construction, and to volleyball.

Silas' family set up a fundraiser. You can find it here: youcaring.com/silasfairbanks-844932.