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Florida teen uses CPR to help save best friend's life after car crash

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Posted at 1:43 PM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 17:06:10-05

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A quick-thinking teen helped save her best friend's life by turning to something she learned in school just days earlier.

Torrie Norwood and A’zarria Simmons, 16, have been friends since seventh grade. Both are now juniors at Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg, Florida.

“She’s literally my other half, so if something were to have happened to her, I would not have been okay mentally or physically, so I’m just glad she’s still here,” said Norwood.

Norwood is also in Lakewood High School’s Athletic Lifestyle Management Academy program, where she received basic life support training. Her knowledge was put to the test after the teens got into a car crash last month.

“We stopped at a stop sign, and then soon as I started to drive off, I see a car coming very, very fast,” said Norwood. “It wasn’t really nothing that I could have done to prevent it. I got hit from my side.”

Norwood says they then crashed into a tree. She says she started walking away when she turned around and didn’t see her friend.

“I ran really fast back to the car, and I’m thinking if I tug her shoulder or something she may wake up. But she wasn’t waking up,” said Norwood.

Norwood, who wants to be a nurse, says she didn’t feel Simmons' pulse. That’s when she started doing CPR, a skill she just finished a test on 24 hours before. After several compressions, Simmons started to move again.

“I just snapped into reality. I just saw my friend on the ground, and I just knew what I had to do,” said Norwood. “It was crazy because I just finished the test on CPR the day before, and in class when I was doing it, I was like, ‘Oh this will never happen to me, so I’m just going to learn it and stuff,' and then it actually happened to me the day after.”

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Erika Miller, Norwood’s teacher in the program, says she’s beyond proud of her student.

“To know that she took something she learned in class and applied it and was able to help save her best friend’s life, it’s what every teacher hopes that they learn in class, is how they can use this in the real world,” said Miller.

Simmons thinks if it wasn’t for her friend, she might not have made it. Simmons says she doesn’t remember anything, but she is doing well today.

“If it wasn’t for her, I would have been somewhere where I didn’t want to be,” said Simmons. “On top of that, she just risked her life for me, and I just don’t know how to pay her back for that.”

Both teens say people should take the time to learn CPR because you never know when a life could be in your hands.

“In the class, it feels like you’re just doing it just to learn,” said Norwood. “But in real life, you’re doing it to save somebody’s life.”

This story originally reported by Mary O'Connell on ABCActionNews.com.