Hero Central: Rob Melendi, Leto High instructor

12:32 AM, Nov 20, 2010   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- A Bay area woman is lucky to be alive today after a heroic effort by an Leto high school instructor.

"My daughter, I wouldn't say she screamed, but she yelled, 'Oh my gosh, she just crashed into the back of a car or truck!'" said Rob Melendi, an instructor at Leto High School.

Melendi is talking about his daughter witnessing a motorcyclist crash into a pickup truck on I-275, after the vehicle veered into her lane. 

"We were almost past it at that time and my daughter said, 'Dad we've got to stop, we've got to do something,'" Melendi said.

At that point, Melendi jumped out of his car and rushed to help the woman. 

"There was a lot of blood. she had multiple skull fractures, and I mean she just didn't look right. Her body was one mass of road rash." Melendi said.

Melendi teaches a criminal justice class at Leto High School and he often encourages his students to learn CPR. He says you never know when you're going to need these techniques to save someone's life. 

"I rolled her over, I check her for a pulse and I check to see if she's breathing. She's not, so I start CPR," Melendi said.

Dayna Crider is the woman, Melendi performed CPR on. 

"He brought me back to life and got a pulse and lost it again, so he tried a second time with CPR, mouth to mouth and was able to bring me back a second time and kept me going until the EMT's arrived," Crider said.

Crider is back at work while she recovers from her injuries and is grateful to Melendi for stopping to help her. 

"He didn't think twice about it, and he set such a great example for his daughter, [and] for my children. Because if it wasn't for Rob, I wouldn't have been able to spend my daughter's 21st birthday with her," Crider said.

Melendi says he was impressed with his daughter's response to the accident. 

"I'll be honest with you Melvin, I'm not sure, a hundred percent sure, I would've stopped, until my daughter said, 'We've got to do something." - Now how am I going to look in my daughter's eyes, when I keep preaching to her that she's got to do something? You've got to treat people the way you want to be treated." Melendi said.

This is not the first time Melendi has helped save a motorcyclist. last year, he rushed to the aid of a man who was lying in the street after being hit on while riding his motorcycle.

If you would like to nominate someone to be a hero, please email me at mbeal@wtsp.com    

Melvin Beal, 10 News

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