At approximately 6:56 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17, an unidentified individual hit and proceeded to run over with his car BYU-Hawaii Security Guard Mathoni McCormick in front of the Cannon Activities Center.
Director of Campus Security and Safety Roy Yamamoto said a call to the Security dispatcher’s office on campus notified McCormick to check out a suspicious Toyota Prius reportedly driving around campus harassing girls.
As McCormick approached the vehicle, he found the man sitting in his car smoking and saw what looked like an open alcoholic beverage, reported Yamamoto.
McCormick then radioed the HPD dispatcher when the suspect refused to leave. The suspect overheard the transmission to HPD and immediately tried to drive off, clipping McCormick’s leg and causing him to fall on the ground.
McCormick said, “[The suspect] immediately shifted the car into ‘Reverse,’ and started trying to back up even though the Security Truck was parked directly behind him. He backed up probably 6-10 inches before stopping; this put me almost directly next to the wheel.”
He added, “The spinning wheels grabbed onto my clothes and yanked me fully beneath the wheels, turning me over onto my stomach in the process. I felt the car drive up onto my torso, and I felt like I was being squeezed like a tube of toothpaste. Each second the pressure felt more and more intense and it felt like I was slowly being crushed flat. All I wanted to do was scream out for help, but no matter how hard I tried I could not inhale any air or exert any sound.” The incident landed McCormick in the hospital, but he is expected to make a full recovery.
Stephen Smith, a sophomore in EXS from California, was just leaving his class when he witnessed the incident and saw a student pulling the driver from the car. He helped lift up the Prius and pull McCormick out from the underneath the car. Smith said, “I looked inside of the car and thought that someone else might be in there, but it was just stuff.”
Once the police arrived, it took six officers to detain the driver. An ambulance and fire truck soon arrived and took McCormick to Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, while the squad car took the suspect to the police station in Kaneohe.
Yamamoto rushed to the hospital and gave his injured colleague a priesthood blessing. “I always carry consecrated oil with me,” Yamamoto said. “I asked him if he wanted a blessing, so I gave him a blessing and he felt better.”
Shortly after, McCormick’s wife, Rita, arrived at the hospital. A CT scan revealed no broken bones or internal injuries, but doctors did find a small hairline fracture at the base of his neck, which is not expected to be problematic.
McCormick is now at home recovering said his wife. He will have a check-up appointment in a few weeks and then hopes to be released and resume his full time job at the State Attorney General’s office and on-call Shift Supervisor at the BYUH Security Office.
Adam Eastburn, a junior in fine arts from California, remarked, “I think it’s courageous for a man who takes on great responsibility to stand in the line of duty.”
McCormick added, “I will always cherish that short priesthood blessing administered in the ER of Queen’s Medical Center that night. And I will always believe in miracles.”