HomeNewsArticle Display

Hero to three: Buckley NCO saves lives from drunken driving accident

Staff Sgt. Jordan Gunterman, 460th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, center, and Nina, MWD, stand with the Wulfers family Jan. 23, 2014, in the 460th SFS kennels on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Gunterman was the first responder to a drunken driving car accident that affected the Wulfers family. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Riley Johnson/Released)

Staff Sgt. Jordan Gunterman, 460th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, center, and Nina, MWD, stand with the Wulfers family Jan. 23, 2014, in the 460th SFS kennels on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Gunterman was the first responder to a drunken driving car accident that affected the Wulfers family. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Riley Johnson/Released)

Staff Sgt. Jordan Gunterman, 460th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, right, and Nina, MWD, play with the Wulfers family Jan. 23, 2014, outside the 460th SFS kennels on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Gunterman was the first responder to a drunken driving car accident that affected the Wulfers family. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Riley Johnson/Released)

Staff Sgt. Jordan Gunterman, 460th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, right, and Nina, MWD, play with the Wulfers family Jan. 23, 2014, outside the 460th SFS kennels on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Gunterman was the first responder to a drunken driving car accident that affected the Wulfers family. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Riley Johnson/Released)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- It had already been dark for hours when the two were driving through the frozen housing complex. Minutes away from home, laughing and discussing the night they just shared, they pulled up on a cluster of taillights pushed to the side of the road.

This past December, Staff Sgt. Jordan Gunterman, 460th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, was a witness and hero to the victims of a drunken driving accident.

It was a Sunday night in single-digit temperatures; he and his wife, Starlla, were heading back home after a friend's birthday dinner. The two came up on an accident that couldn't have taken place more than five minutes before, leaving a red sedan smashed to pieces.

There were five or six people already surrounding the wreckage. Gunterman told his wife to pull over so he could see if he could offer any help. Making his way over to the crowd, he heard screams muffled through the broken glass and crumpled car. He sprinted towards the wreck, shining his light into the passenger seat.

"I saw a woman who was a bloody mess; confused and bleeding out of her nose, mouth and ears," he remembered. "I asked if she was okay to make sure she was breathing and she answered with, 'Who are you? I don't know what happened.'"

He swung open her door and frantically looked to see if she had any further injuries. A man walked up from behind and nonchalantly admitted to being the one who had hit them.

Gunterman asked if he was alright, but he needed to continue to help without the man getting in his way.

A boy sitting in the back seat, who didn't know his own name or where he was, caught Gunterman's eye. After only talking for a moment, he noticed the six-year-old's attention was fixed on the driver's seat.

"And that's when my flashlight went to him," he paused.

Behind the steering wheel was the grandfather to the two children in the back seat, covered in his own blood. Gunterman ran around to the side of the car that had taken the impact and started checking for the man's vitals, but he couldn't take back what had happened.

The little girl that sat behind the driver's seat cried out for her grandfather. Gunterman tried over and over again to bring life into the man, but nothing worked. A helpless feeling overwhelmed him and he couldn't hold back his tears.

"I checked vitals one last time and felt something move," he said. "I instantly assumed it was a heartbeat but when I looked over, the man that had tried to start a previous conversation with me was trying to pick the mom up."

Furious, Gunterman ordered the man to not move the mother and to come stand behind him. He didn't listen. His breath reeked of alcohol as he was belligerently cussing and refusing to obey.

He was drunk, Gunterman said. He just killed this man and tore apart his family.
Looking over the mangled car with blood on his hands, tears continued to roll down his cheeks.

"That's when someone said the car is leaking fuel and the car is smoking," he said. "So I ran over, pulled the mom, son and daughter out of the car and put them in my warm car with Starlla."

Shortly after the three were safe with his wife, the police and paramedics arrived. The drunken man who had hit the small car was now shut into the back seat of a police car with handcuffs on his wrists. An ambulance rushed the family off to the nearest hospital, leaving the staff sergeant and his wife to look back on what happened.

Gunterman constantly begs everyone to never risk driving under the influence; to never say, "I'm good" or "I do this all the time," because he has seen firsthand that it's not worth it.

"I pray that no one ever feels what that family is dealing with right now and I pray it never happens to them personally," he said. "My thoughts and prayers are with this family."
A night that was originally planned for a laidback dinner and some laughs quickly turned into an event that will have a lasting impression on Gunterman.

"So many thoughts cloud my mind when I am not busy working," he said. "The most asked question is why? Why did that man decide to drink and drive? Was it really worth it? A few good drinks and a stupid decision killed an innocent man."
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.