Five St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s officers and two Prince George’s County firefighters are being hailed as heroes after saving the life of a woman who collapsed during an obstacle race.
The rescue happened in early May at a "Warrior Dash” at Budds Creek in Mechanicsville.
While on security detail, Deputy William Wood and Deputy Trevor Teague received a report of a contestant stuck in a muddied wooded area off the race course. The two St. Mary’s County officers found a 56-year-old woman in grave condition, and began performing CPR.
The two deputies were later joined by Sgt. Clayton Safford, Cpl. Todd Fleenor and Cpl. Thomas Hedderich, also with the St. Mary’s department. All three were participants in the event and off duty; they assisted their comrades in extricating the patient, who was stuck in mud at the time.
Medical personnel tried to reach the distressed participant using an all-terrain off-road vehicle, but that, too, got caught in the mud. With the help of three Prince George’s County officers, also race participants, the rescuers removed the vehicle from the mud and pushed it through forest and brush to an open field where the woman was loaded onto an ambulance.
“There was no hesitation on the part of these deputies. Without giving it a second thought, they ran into the thick woods; through mud, poison ivy, and briars to reach the patient, who was in grave condition.” said Captain Steve Hall, commander of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office. “Our deputies do incredible things and this incident is a tremendous example of how our officer’s presence, quick action, training, and above all, teamwork affected a life in the most profound way – by sustaining it.”
Officers alternated in providing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for the patient, essentially breathing for her. After several attempts at CPR, an automatic external defibrillator was located and a shock given to the patient to restore her heartbeat. After suffering from cardiac arrest, the woman would survive the ordeal after several days in the hospital.
"It does not surprise me to hear that our personnel stopped and assisted in a life or death situation,” said Chief Marc S. Bashoor of the Prince George’s Fire Department. “Our role in public safety does not stop when we cross a jurisdictional boundary or if we are on or off duty."