John Michael Bieganski is doing fine now, but he might not be doing so great if not for the quick action of a group of people willing to step forward and help him Saturday night after he was stabbed in the leg by a knife-wielding assailant.
Bieganski, 23, a Clarence resident, had his leg cut during Cruefest, the concert of Motley Crue at Darien Lake Theme Park.
A friend carried him from the mosh pit (a tangle of dancing males (usually) who typically bang against each other and jump up and down and side-to-side rather violently) after he had been stabbed.
Trouble started for Bieganski, according to a Sheriff's Office report, when he thought he saw a friend being tackled and punched by one or two other men. When he tried to pull one of the men off his friend -- it turned out not to be his friend who was being attacked -- Bieganski said he suddenly felt something warm on his leg, touched it and then saw the blood.
The alleged attacker is described as a white male, about 25 years old, 6-feet tall, a strong build, wearing a gray T-shirt, khaki shorts, with a buzz cut, no glasses and clean shaven.
Bieganski required 28 stitches to close a gaping 4-inch long wound on his leg.
Contrary to initial reports, his artery was not cut, but he did bleed profusely before being treated.
After the attack, Bieganski's buddy, Evan Laczi, grabbed him in a fireman's carry hold and hoisted him from the mosh pit, but according to Glenn Hall, who was one of the first people to come to Bieganski's aid, Laczi and Bieganski came through a whole crowd of people who ignored Laczi's cries for help.
"They had walked past people to get up there (the beer trailer, where Hall was located)," Hall said. "They had walked past a number of people and nobody had done anything, to help him carry his friend or anything like that. Nobody had ran up. I'm sure he screamed out more than once, 'hey, I need help' and nobody ran out to get help or anything."
Hall, a six-year veteran of the Air Force, was a volunteer for a group of recruiters trying to raise funds to help with their recruitment effort (his wife is a military recruiter), and he said when he saw Laczi carrying Bieganski with blood soaking his right leg, his military emergency training just kicked in. He didn't even think about what he needed to do.
"Many soldiers who get this kind of training face this kind of stuff all the time," Hall said. "Overseas and abroad, these are guys are real heroes and they know what they're doing, but every military member gets this kind of training ... but I'd never reached that situation (before) and I didn't know how I would react in that situation (before Saturday night)."
Hall was working the beer trailer when he heard Laczi calling for help and he looked up and saw all the blood on Bieganski's leg.
"My immediate reaction was, 'we need to do something to stop this bleeding,'" Hall said.
His first instinct was to pull off his volunteer T-shirt and then his "wife beater" undershirt, which he ripped into two so it could be used as a tourniquet. Laczi helped place Bieganski on the long towing tongue of the beer trailer (which was covered by a sheet of plywood) while a non-military man who was part of the volunteer group asked, "hey, what can I do?"
Hall had the man put as much pressure on the wound as possible while keeping Laczi's leg elevated. Laczi held onto Bieganski's head. Then Hall went to fetch Darien's security personnel, who came to the scene to confirm the report of a man stabbed, and then called for emergency medical personnel.
It took about 15 minutes, according to Hall, for emergency personnel to arrive.
"The guy was being very compliant," Hall said. "He had bought beer from me earlier that night. He was a very nice guy, but you could tell, he had a very good buzz on. But he was not really moving, not really fighting us. He was just kind of laying there, but you could see that he had a lot of pain going on. At that point, there was nothing we could do but wait for emergency medical personnel to get there."
Hall doesn't want to be painted as a hero who saved a man's life, however.
"Truthfully, I feel like we all did our parts," Hall said. "I'm happy for the guy. It turns out he's alright, but I feel like this was group effort. Everything fell into place like dominoes and the situation was handled the best it could."
"I think the military just pounds it in there so hard and you're constantly trained on it, it almost became like second nature," Hall said.
Bieganski is out of the hospital, but whomever stabbed him is still at large. The Sheriff's Office investigation is ongoing.