Quick-thinking rescuers praised for saving a life in Jackson County
One passenger, still upside down inside the vehicle, had no pulse, was not breathing and was turning blue.
JACKSON — Life Saving awards were presented to Warmka Towing’s Justin Warmka, Minnesota State Trooper Thomas Saunders and Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputy Caleb Cihak Tuesday, during a meeting of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners.
The three saved the life of a person involved in a rollover crash Dec. 27 in Jackson County, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office reported.
That afternoon, Saunders and Warmka were towing a pickup after it spun out on an ice patch on Interstate 90, west of Jackson. Another vehicle heading west also hit an ice patch, and it too spun out, entered the north ditch and rolled onto its roof — right across the road from where Saunders and Warmka were standing.
The two ran to help, finding five people and a puppy inside, three with minor injuries and two who clearly needed more extensive medical help.
After closer examination, the rescuers realized one passenger, still upside down inside the vehicle, had no pulse, was not breathing and was turning blue.
They were able to extract him from the overturned vehicle and immediately began performing CPR in knee-deep snow, despite the bitter windchill. Saunders radioed for help, letting dispatchers know they’d started CPR, and Cihak arrived within a minute.
Cihak used his automated external defibrillator, which he’d recently received through the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the University of Minnesota Medical School.
Life-saving measures continued until the passenger’s pulse was detected and he slowly became responsive, ultimately regaining consciousness and talking to his rescuers by the time the first ambulance arrived.
He was transported to an area hospital where he was medically cleared and released.
“If not for the immediate and heroic actions of these three, the passenger would likely not have survived,” the sheriff’s office wrote on its Facebook page. “Congratulations to the three of you! You deserve to be recognized!”