A local military service member from Southington is being hailed a hero just just for his service to the country, but for saving a life on his way back to active duty. Devan Tillotson, 19, was being driven to the airport by way of Interstate 84 in Farmington early Saturday morning when he and his mother witnessed a motorcyclist get struck by a vehicle. State police said they arrested 26-year-old Michael Giovanny Rios of Hartford for the crime. According to Carla Tillotson, the motorcyclist had been pulled over to the side of the highway Saturday afternoon when Rios, the driver of the SUV, struck. Rios kept going.
"As we pulled over and before I could get my shoes on, Devan was running to the man and by the time I got to him Devan was taking his belt and tying a tourniquet over a very mangled leg." Carla Tillotson said she dialed 911 and that state police were on the scene within 6 minutes.
"One officer tied a tourniquet above Devan's belt and another threw me a pair of gloves. We all worked together but it was Devan who had complete control of the scene," she said.
State police informed Devan Tillotson that it was his tornequette that likely saved the motorcyclist's life, his mother said. "I just kind of sat there talking to him, making sure he's okay, make sure he's not bleeding," Devan said. Carla said she was concerned about her son's safety. She urged him to get back into the family's car, especially once police arrived. "I did try to get him off the road and he wasn't moving. [He said,] 'mom, I got it, I got it,'" Carla said.
Devan, a military police officer, says he wasn't phased by everything going on around him. "You know, I was completely relaxed. No real sense of fear, emotions going on, just focused," Devan said. Tillotson said she was contacted by the friends and family of the victim and they told her the victim is expected to recover.
State police said the victim suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries. The SUV Rios was driving was found to be abandoned on the exit 39 off ramp, state police said. Farmington police said they found Rios as he was getting into a suspicious vehicle that was circling the area. Rios was charged with operating an unregistered motor vehicle, impoper use of a registration plate, operating without insurance, operating under a suspended licence, evading responsibility and second-degree reckless endangerment.
Devan, thank you for your service and for being a hero!