Bystanders break window of slow-moving car, initiate CPR to help save unresponsive driver

ST. GEORGE — Quick-thinking bystanders and a police officer helped save the life of an unresponsive driver in traffic, witnesses said.

The incident occurred around 5 p.m. Wednesday on Brigham Road, a short distance east of where the street intersects with Desert Hills Drive.

Witness Ty Empey said he was heading west on Brigham Road when he noticed traffic stopped ahead, including a police vehicle. He pulled into a nearby parking lot and went over to see what was happening.

Empey said when he got closer, he saw a police officer already performing CPR on a man with the help of two bystanders. The man was lying on the ground next to a white Volkswagen Jetta with a Hurricane Family Pharmacy logo.

Empey said other witnesses at the scene told him that the man, who had also been heading west on Brigham Road, apparently had experienced some sort of medical event that caused him to drift over into the eastbound lanes. One witness told Empey that the driver must have had his foot on the brake but that his car was “slowing inching into oncoming traffic.”


Bystanders and first responders work to help an unresponsive driver on Brigham Road, St. George, Utah, Aug. 12, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Ty Empey, St. George News


“They said that he must have been having a heart attack or something, because he was unresponsive,” Empey said. “So one of the bystanders broke one of his back windows and stopped the car. They yanked him out onto the ground and started checking for a pulse and doing CPR.”

Empey said that there wasn’t anything he could really do at the point that he arrived since police were already on scene, but he did use his cell phone to take a few short videos and also helped direct traffic, including stopping cars for the ambulance as it arrived a short time later.

See Empey’s submitted video in the media player at the top of this report

Empey praised the “super fast” response and efforts of the first two bystanders to help, along with those of responding St. George Police Officer Antonio Brown.

“He was fantastic,” Empey said. “That guy needs a shout-out, because with all the crazy stuff happening with police right now, I mean, he had a guy on the ground, people all around, traffic stopping, and he was just like making it all happen and taking care of the guy that was on the ground.”

Even when the officer had to run back to his vehicle at one point, Empey said he directed the other bystanders to continue with chest compressions.

“He ran back to his car and then came back and jumped right back in,” Empey said. It was really humbling to watch everybody chipping in and helping.”

Thanks to the resuscitation efforts, the man was breathing and had a pulse by the time he was transported via ambulance to Dixie Regional Medical Center, police said.

Hurricane Family Pharmacy owner Cliff Holt told St. George News that the man, who has worked as one of the company’s delivery drivers for several years, was still listed in critical but stable condition at the hospital as of Thursday night. Although his family asked that he not be publicly identified, they did authorize Holt to speak on their behalf.

“He’s an incredible guy, a super nice guy,” Holt said.

“This is the kind of thing that brings hope back to humanity, right?” he continued. “If any one of those people hadn’t volunteered to do what they did, I mean, it could have been a different outcome. He’s a great guy, and he’s really fortunate that those people did stop and help when they didn’t have to.”

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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