When he arrived in the parking lot at Spencer’s Market on Feb. 13, Senior Officer Michael Smiley of the Arroyo Grande Police Department only had moments to make a decision.
A man was slumped against the door and window of his Ford F-150. He appeared to be unconscious. He was having difficulty breathing. The truck’s doors and windows were locked, and the man’s foot was on the brake.
He had been leaving the parking lot, heading from the shopping center at 1464 East Grande Ave. onto Courtland Street — directly facing an assisted living facility.
“If his foot came off the brake, it would have been a bad day,” Smiley said Monday.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Tribune
Smiley used his police baton to break the rear window of the truck, crawled into the cab, put the vehicle in park and turned off the engine. At that time, Paramedic Michael Duerson and Emergency Medical Technician Michelle Ausilio of San Luis Ambulance arrived and helped Smiley — who is also a paramedic and works part time for the privately owned paramedic service.
They realized the man, who was not identified, was having a serious heart problem, and were able to correct it before he was transported by ambulance to a local hospital. He is likely to make a full recovery with additional treatment, according to police.
“It was really a team effort between myself, the paramedic team and the fire department,” Smiley said. “Being cross-trained is an invaluable tool not only to myself and the police department, but to the community in general.”
It was the second time in five years that Smiley’s quick response helped to save a life.
In 2006, Smiley was dispatched to a 3-year-old girl’s home on a report of a child choking. He immediately recognized that she was having a seizure brought on by a high fever and couldn’t breathe.
He was able to use his medical training to cool Hannah Simmons’ fever, stop the seizure and get her breathing again until additional help arrived.
In December, he was able to give Hannah, then 6, a hug at the police department’s annual Santa Cop event.
In 2005, he received the department’s Life Saving Award after performing CPR on a man who had stopped breathing while playing tennis at the Elm Street Park in Arroyo Grande. The man was breathing when he was taken to the hospital but died several days later, Smiley said.
Cynthia Lambert can be reached at 781-7929. Stay updated on Twitter at @SouthCountyBeat.