‘His actions absolutely saved this man’s life’: Durham officer credited with saving lifetime of choking driver in Oshawa

Durham police officer James O’Hearn used his police SUV to block a car after the driver lost consciousness in Oshawa March 18. He’s being credited with saving the life of the driver, who passed out after choking on food.

  • Durham police are lauding the actions of Acting Sgt. James O'Hearn for saving a motorist who passed out after choking on a piece of food in Oshawa.

Durham police are lauding the actions of an officer who saved a motorist who passed out after choking on a piece of food in Oshawa.

Acting Sgt. James O’Hearn’s calm handling of the situation saved the victim’s life, Staff Sgt. Todd Wilson said in describing the March 18 incident.

“His actions surely saved this man’s life,” said Wilson.

O’Hearn arrived at the scene of the incident at Richmond and Ontario Streets to find an elderly man slumped over in an idling car, Wilson said. O’Hearn positioned his police SUV to block the car, which was in drive.

The officer found the man inside the car unresponsive, Wilson said: “This male was bleeding from his head and had vomit around his mouth.”

O’Hearn smashed the car window and dragged the man out, then began CPR. He quickly revived the victim.

“Not only did he get a pulse, but he also noticed he dislodged a piece of food from the man’s mouth,” Wilson said. “It turns out the man had choked on a bagel before losing consciousness behind the wheel — a very scary situation.”

Paramedics responding to the call opined that O’Hearn’s actions saved the victim from a potentially fatal incident, Wilson said.

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