SALT LAKE CITY — Bystanders helped save a man's life Friday after the man had a heart attack that led him to hit two vehicles. Officers at that accident were then able to arrest the driver in a hit-and-run a few blocks over that left a man in serious condition.
The hit-and-run accident occurred at the intersection of 400 South and 600 East at about 12:30 p.m. Friday. The pedestrian was struck by a vehicle while walking north across 400 South.
Watch commander John Cardona with the Salt Lake City Police Department said the pedestrian was crossing on a red light. The car had a green light, he said.
"The pedestrian was walking against the light, and he ended up in the middle of the intersection," Cardona said.
Cardona reminded pedestrians that they have the right of way — "unless directionals say you don't."
The driver of the car fled the scene, according to Cardona, but was caught two or three blocks west by officers who had been responding to another accident in which a man suffered from an apparent heart attack while driving.
"It appears our driver had a medical issue, possibly a heart attack, and lost control of his vehicle and collided with two vehicles on 900 East," Cardona said.
Jerome LeSueur was getting off a TRAX train when he witnessed the driver hit a car parked on the side of the road.
"I thought he was probably drunk or something; I didn't know," he said. "Then a lady getting off TRAX … said, ‘Well, a guy's having a heart attack.' "
"It was kind of sad, because I was just walking and I didn't know what was going on until I saw the lady with the kids saying he needs help."
LeSueur said a UTA employee ran to break the glass out of the car, but was afraid of injuring the man inside.
"I took off my coat and got myself in there to get the door unjarred. Then people ran out with a (defibrillator) and they were doing CPR on him, and he began to breathe, and it kind of gave me a little tears and stuff," he said. "It was kind of sad, because I was just walking and I didn't know what was going on until I saw the lady with the kids saying he needs help."
According to Cardona, the accident happened across the street from a facility that was holding a medical training class. He said someone in the class was able to use the defibrillator to start the man's heart again.
"I would say they saved his life," Cardona said. "At the time they went to him, he was not breathing, but by the time the ambulance got there, he was breathing, or at least had a pulse."
LeSueur said he "thanks the grace of God" he was there to assist the man before the paramedics arrived.
"I was just saying, ‘Please, God, don't let this guy die on me; I ain't never seen a guy die before,' " he said. "I was just so happy to see this guy start breathing again."
The man involved in the accident was taken to a local hospital in critical condition. The driver involved in the hit-and-run was arrested. Cardona said regardless of whether he was at fault in the original accident, he will now face charges of being involved in a hit-and-run.