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PRICE — For Carbon County sheriff's deputy Shawn Addley, Thursday's staff meeting at the sheriff's office was just like any other staff meeting.
Then a special guest walked in.
"I had no idea," Addley said. "They kept it a secret from me."
Addley hadn't seen Hayden Holt since the day he pulled the 5-year-old and the boy's father from a parked car filled with deadly levels of carbon monoxide. Now, Hayden was joined by his mom and grandfather — in a room packed with sheriff's deputies — as Addley received recognition for saving his life.
"I appreciate you going above and beyond like you always do," Carbon County Sheriff Jeff Wood told Addley as he presented him with the agency's meritorious service award for his actions on Dec. 12.
Addley was on patrol that day when he noticed something unusual about the man who was slumped over in a car parked on the side of the road. At first, the 10-year law enforcement veteran thought the man was sleeping, "but the way he was sleeping just seemed different or odd or suspicious to me," Addley said.
After circling the block twice, Addley pulled in behind the Audi and approached the car. He found Jonathan Holt in the driver's seat and Hayden in the passenger seat. Both were unconscious.
"I didn't even think 'carbon monoxide,'" Addley told KSL-TV a few days after the incident.
He tried unsuccessfully to rouse the father and son before calling for an additional deputy and an ambulance. Then he pulled Hayden out of the car and noticed an immediate change.
"He opened his eyes real wide and he gave me this huge smile," Addley said in December. "It was like a sigh of relief."
Medical professionals stated that due to Hayden's high levels of (carbon monoxide), if he'd have been left in that vehicle any longer, the results would have surely been death.
–Carbon County Sheriff Jeff Wood
Holt and his son were taken to the hospital for treatment and later released.
"Medical professionals stated that due to Hayden's high levels of (carbon monoxide), if he'd have been left in that vehicle any longer, the results would have surely been death," Wood said Thursday.
After running some tests on the car, investigators determined that carbon monoxide from the idling engine had entered the Audi through two open windows and an open sunroof, nearly killing Hayden and his dad.
Hayden's mother, Cyndi Parry, said nearly losing her son has had a profound effect on her.
"Hearing them repeat that he was so close to death, I mean, you definitely don't take any moment for granted," Parry said after the award ceremony for Addley, whom she considers a hero.
Addley is grateful for the praise, but said being called a hero is "kind of awkward."
"I'm just a normal sheriff's deputy out doing his normal patrol, trying to help the citizens of Carbon County," he said.