INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WISH) - An Indiana State Trooper is credited with saving a man's life after he had a heart attack behind the wheel.
The sergeant was on I-65 when he came upon a minor crash involving two vehicles. He then saw one of the drivers was slumped over.
Sergeant Luke Nathalang said the driver of the semi involved in that minor crash motioned him to check on the van's driver. It turns out that man was having a heart attack. Sergeant Nathalang said all of his training kicked in to try and save this man's life.
"I'm on the road just about everyday," said Sgt. Nathalang.
Around noon on March 26, Sgt. Nathalang said he was traveling west on I-70 turning onto I-65 South when he noticed traffic stopped.
"I edged ahead to see what was going on and I observed a semi against a wall there on the right shoulder," he said.
Next to that semi was a van. Inside, the driver was slumped over the center console.
Sgt. Nathalang said at first he didn't know what was wrong.
"I had to check for his vitals; check to see if he was breathing. If it was a medical condition or if he got knocked out during the collision," he said.
It turns out the driver had a heart attack.
"I extracted him from the van, got him out on the street, laid him out in front of the van and started CPR," Sgt. Nathalang said.
He said it seemed like an eternity.
"He came to several times; and then he would go out; he would gasp for air and then I would stop the CPR, check his pulse, check to see if he was breathing and then he stopped," said Sgt. Nathalang.
The truck driver called 911.
Sgt. Nathalang credits his training for helping save the man's life.
"We're considered the first responder, so it's mandatory for us to have first aid training," he said.
Sgt. Nathalang was at the right place at the right time.
Right after our interview someone motioned him over for a medical emergency. A woman in the back seat of the car was having trouble breathing.
As for the driver who had the heart attack. Medics took the 48 year-old to Methodist Hospital where he has since been released.
Sgt. Nathalang said in his 28 years of working for ISP, this is the first time he's had to perform CPR. He said the next training class he has he will stress how important it is to act like it's the real thing.
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