BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB)– On Dec. 21st, after being relieved from duty, Deputy James Hines was headed home from the Bay County Courthouse.
Before making his usual right turn onto East Avenue Hines suffered a heart attack in his truck. Some may call it luck or an act of God, but he was discovered by his two colleagues.
Deputy Howard Alexander happened to be headed that way in his patrol car when he noticed the unresponsive driver.
“I noticed a truck kind of sitting sideways like it was trying to merge but it was sitting still and I’ve been doing this for years so I was thinking it was a drunk driver passed out in the roadway,” Alexander said.
Alexander approached the truck to find a driver slumped over, he radioed his partner, Deputy Marc Dexter, for help.
The two didn’t recognize the driver was Deputy Hines at first, but when they did a whole different emotion set in.
“At that point, it went into like an automatic panic mode and we tried all the doors and couldn’t get them open,” Deputy Alexander said.
They smashed the window, pulling Deputy Hines out.
“I started chest compression and Deputy Alexander got the ambu bag,” he said.
While their training helps them save lives, Deputy Alexander said the feeling is different when it’s one of your own.
“This is one of our guys, a brother in arms,” Alexander said.
The two kept performing CPR, until EMS arrived, with the help of a nurse who kindly stopped and assisted.
“They told us if we hadn’t done what we did he’d be dead,” Alexander said.
The two said they were just glad to be there, and were able to help.
“I’m glad I was in the right place at the right time because heaven only knows what would have happened,” Deputy Dexter said.
And on Christmas the two got the news they had been waiting to hear for the first time, Deputy Hines had opened his eyes.
“It was a big relief knowing that something that we did helped,” Dexter said.