DENVER — Tessa Riehman-Bryan put her nursing skills to the test Sunday night in a way she never could have imagined.
"I knew that I had to put everything behind me, every thought in my head, just to try and jump in and do what I was trained to do," she said.
She and her boyfriend were driving home on I-70 when she came upon the scene of a shooting that had just happened.
"Two people were running down the street looking very frantic, very worried, and so I rolled down my window. I said, "Are you guys OK? Is everything OK?" And they proceeded to tell me that someone had passed out at the wheel and had fainted," Riehman-Bryan recalled.
Behind the wheel was 31-year-old Kevin Piaskowski. The Denver Police Department said a driver in a stolen pickup truck shot into his car several times. The incident was caught on dash cam video from another driver.
"Before I started CPR, I tried to wake him up, and then I checked his pulse. That's a very special feeling when you're feeling for a pulse and that's not there, and so then I just started doing CPR on him," Riehman-Bryan said.
Officers arrived shortly after and took over. Unfortunately, Piaskowski did not survive, despite everyone's best efforts.
"When I found out his name this morning and I saw his picture, that was really hard," Riehman-Bryan said, holding back tears.
She graduated from the University of Colorado's nursing school this May. Her first day as a registered nurse was Saturday, one day before her brave efforts on I-70.
"I feel like everyone who is a nurse truly understands just the compassion you need to have, the empathy, the drive, the energy. It's special," she said.
From mannequins to real life, Riehman-Bryan says this is an experience she'll never forget.
"I just will never regret stopping for someone because at one point, we’re all going to need help," she said.
Denver police say the suspect who shot Piaskowski ran from the scene. Anyone with information is asked to call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867.
Denver7 looked into how common road rage incidents are in Denver. According to police records, between the beginning of the year and the end of June, there were at least 220 reported incidents. Last year, during the same period, there were 239. In 2020, even with fewer drivers on the road, there were at least 208.