The Brooklyn Deputy Principal brings another AP back to life after a car crash

Fiordaliza Marte, a Brooklyn Deputy Principal, has only one explanation for the twists of fate that led her to a car accident at an undisclosed intersection, where she ended up saving the life of another Brooklyn Deputy Principal.

“I think I should just be there,” she told the Post.

Marte, 42, who works at PS 23 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, is hailed as a heroine in the community but has received little outside attention for her extraordinary deeds.

After stopping at the accident at Metropolitan Avenue and Stewart Avenue in East Williamsburg last December 2, she performed CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a man who was slumped unconscious over the steering wheel.

It was Melvin Martinez, 53, a popular assistant principal at PS 257 in Williamsburg and baseball coach at Grand Street Campus High School, who won the first-ever ESPY honors award for keeping his team motivated to practice and study during the pandemic.

A series of random shifts in her daily routine brought Marte to the crossroads just when Martinez desperately needed help.

That afternoon, a school employee who lived in Glendale near Marte’s house in Maspeth asked the AP for a ride home. After dropping off her colleague, Marte drove off, but soon realized her mistake. “I wanted to go back to work.”

Fiordaliza Marte
When Marte Martinez resuscitated, she used the CPR training she received in school for the first time.

Then she turned back to Queens. “It was a very different route, not the way I usually come home.”

About 10 minutes away she called her husband. “I’ll be right there,” she told him. It was just before 6 p.m

At that moment, she stopped at Metropolitan and Stewart to turn left and saw two cars collide.

“I see these two teenagers getting out of the car and they’re screaming in desperation, their hands on their heads. I could tell they didn’t know what to do.”

Marte, thinking of her two young sons, turned, parked and got out of her car.

She looked at the driver. “The airbag was all over him. His body didn’t move at all. I thought he had died.”

assistant Principal Melvin Martinez
Martinez called Marte “my family’s guardian angel” in a statement to CSA News.

The teens, later revealed to be the driver’s sons, “went in and out of the car frantically, touched his pulse, his neck,” and yelled, “He’s not responding!” she said.

Marte called 911 and then asked the boys for the driver’s name.

“Melvin Martinez,” said one. She gasped—she knew Martinez as a colleague from the AP.

“At that point, I just got in the car. I forgot I was calling 911. I hung up the phone and started doing chest compressions and CPR,” she said.

At the wheel, Martinez wasn’t in the right position to perform CPR, but Marte had to do something quickly.

“I sat in the passenger seat and gave him chest compressions from the side,” she recalls.

Melvin Martinez
Martinez received the first-ever ESPY honors award for keeping his Grand Street Campus High School baseball team motivated to practice and study during the pandemic.
William Thomas

“I put him from mouth to mouth. I didn’t even think about COVID,” said Marte, whose husband was hospitalized with the virus for 19 days in March 2021.

It was the first time she used the CPR training she received in school as part of the required safety protocols.

“Never in my life did I think I would find myself in a situation like this,” she said.

Martinez suddenly showed signs of resuscitation.

“He coughed. He opened his eyes. And his legs were shaking, as you can see in the training video,” Marte recalled.

“It’s Miss Marte, Melvin! It’s Miss Marte!” She told him.

One of Martinez’s sons was standing by the car door. “He said, ‘Oh, he’s going to be good!'” Marte said. “I just hugged him, ‘He’s going to make it!'”

Fiordaliza Marte
Marte finds it amazing that “so many unusual things” have brought her to Martinez’s side.

The car started smoking just before the ambulance arrived. Paramedics worked on Martinez for a few minutes before taking him to Elmhurst Hospital’s trauma center.

Another blessing: Martinez’s wife, Lori, happens to be a temp at PS 23. So Marte called Lori to say she was taking the teens to the hospital to meet with her.

Martinez was briefly hospitalized, underwent physical therapy, and returned to work at PS 257.

Martinez declined to comment on the incident, calling it “a traumatic experience,” but in a statement to CSA News, the school leaders’ union newsletter, he expressed his gratitude.

“I want to thank God for bringing Deputy Principal Marte to the scene of our car accident. She performed CPR on me until paramedics arrived. She saved my life. She is the guardian angel of my family. She stopped at the scene of the accident, unaware that the two teenagers were our sons. She is the true definition of a good Samaritan. I am eternally grateful for what she has done for me and my family. Thank you, Ms. Marte.”

Lori and Melvin Martinez
Martinez’s wife, Lori (left), works at PS 23 with Marte, who kept her informed and took her teenage sons to meet them at the hospital.
Paul Martinka for the NY Post

Marte finds it amazing that “so many unusual things” have brought her to Martinez’s side.

“People know how terrible I am with directions,” she joked.

But Marcos Bausch, assistant principal at Queens Metropolitan HS and close friend of Martinez, said Marte appears to be controlled by a higher power.

“We are eternally grateful to her for her ministry — and for being there. A lot of people drove by and didn’t stop to help,” said Bausch. “I feel like it was a matter of God. This wasn’t just a series of random events. It happened the way it was supposed to happen.” The Brooklyn Deputy Principal brings another AP back to life after a car crash


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