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FARMINGTON — Saving lives is what paramedics do — just not usually on the commute to work.
Unified Fire Authority paramedic E.J. Hinterman was in Farmington on Thursday morning during his normal drive to work. As he was about to get onto I-15 off U.S. 89, he saw something strange about the car in front of him.
"This all happened very quickly,” Hinterman said. "His vehicle was probably 50 yards ahead of me. I noticed it was drifting, just going along at maybe five miles per hour."
Hinterman then noticed, the driver was slumped over his steering wheel, so he jumped out of his truck and ran to help. The door was locked, however, and the car was still moving.
"In the backseat, I noticed a child about 10 years of age," Hinterman said.
It turns out that child was the driver’s son. Hinterman got him to unlock the door, then jumped in and put the car in park. Hinterman said it looked like the man was having a heart attack.
"I was able to drag the dad out of the car and onto the pavement (near) my headlights because it was still kind of dark," he said.
Hinterman also dialed 911 and gave his cell phone to the child. But for some reason, the phone call hung up. Another driver saw what was going on, stopped, and also called 911 while Hinterman continued chest compressions on the driver.
An ambulance arrived and the man was taken to a hospital.
Hinterman said he was just happy to be there.
"I hope the outcome is good,” he said. “The odds are better than they typically are for him to have a good outcome."
The man is in critical condition at a local hospital. If not for the quick actions of Hinterman and those who stopped to help, though, he may not even be there.
The biggest difference was having people nearby ready and willing to act fast.