HORRIFYING: Mark Cronin, 41, a father of three, seen here with his wife, Carolyn, left, lost a leg in a crash early Saturday morning, inset top, after an allegedly drunken driver slammed into his motorcycle.
A quick-thinking war vet has been hailed as a hero for saving a motorcyclist's life after his leg was torn off in a head-on crash with an allegedly drunken Boston probation officer's car.
John Melson, 37, used crash victim Mark Cronin's belt to make a tourniquet and stem the bleeding after Cronin's left leg was severed in the crash on the Neponset River Bridge in Quincy on Saturday morning.
Doctors at Quincy Medical Center told police that if not for Melson, dad-of-three Cronin, 41, "would have died due to the femoral artery being cut."
But modest Melson, 37, told the Herald, "I don't consider myself a hero."
The Massachusetts National Guardsman from Hyde Park who is a veteran of four tours of Iraq and Afghanistan, added, "I'm just glad he's OK. I hope someone would do the same for me."
Cronin, a laborer from Quincy, was riding home across the bridge on his Harley-Davidson at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday when a Honda Accord driven by Boston Juvenile Court probation officer Mary Beth Frisoli, 32, came speeding toward him in the wrong lane, police said.
The force of the impact tore Cronin's leg from his body and threw his bike 50 feet.
Cadaver-sniffing police dogs had to be brought in to find his severed limb, which had been flung from the bridge and into bushes below, according to a police report.
Melson, who has helped treat troops whose limbs have been blown off by bombs, came across the crash as he rode his motorcycle and weaved through traffic to reach Cronin. When he saw the severe injury, he darted into action.
"If it wasn't for him my husband would be dead. It's a miracle that he arrived when he did. I can't ever express my thanks (enough) to this man," Cronin's wife, Carolyn, told the Herald.
The couple, who have three children ages 5, 6 and 10, will celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary Friday.
She said her husband was "angry" but will be OK after undergoing six hours of surgery yesterday.
Frisoli initially denied drinking but later admitted she had drunk one Bud Light an hour and a half before the crash, police said.
Frisoli allegedly flashed her badge and exclaimed "It's all right; I am on the job" to the first person on the scene - an off-duty Boston police officer, according to a police report.
Then, during a field sobriety test, she allegedly insisted on singing the alphabet despite being repeatedly told to speak the letters.
She pleaded not guilty to drunken driving, driving to endanger and other traffic violations at Quincy District Court yesterday.
Judge James McGovern ordered her to submit to random drug testing and not drive before her next court date Oct. 14. She posted $5,000 bail over the weekend before pleading not guilty at her arraignment yesterday.
Frisoli was also placed on administrative leave without pay from her $56,000-a-year job, according to a probation department spokeswoman.
Her lawyer, Daniel O'Malley, could not be reached, and Frisoli did not return a phone message.
Melson said he had just returned home from his fourth tour of the Middle East a few weeks ago and is heading back for his fifth in two weeks.
He serves with the 1st Batallion of the 182nd Infantry out of Braintree with the Massachusetts National Guard.
Humble guardsman recalls life-saving heroics: