Deputies, bystanders save 74-year-old man's life in Cayucos

Deputies Brian Geremia and Brent Rechtfertig.
Deputies Brian Geremia and Brent Rechtfertig.

NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect that a number of people made an effort to save the man, including one who did CPR on him, before deputies arrived.

A 74-year-old Porterville man was revived after efforts to save him by a number of bystanders and two sheriff’s deputies on Saturday in Cayucos.

The efforts culminated with deputies Brent Rechtfertig and Brian Geremia using a defibrillator, according to a San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department news release.

The two were on a routine patrol of the area about 4:45 p.m. and were near Ducky’s restaurant when radio dispatchers reported that a man had collapsed and bystanders were performing CPR.

According to witnesses, a number of people made an effort to save the man before the deputies arrived.

Geremia took over doing CPR while Rechtfertig used the automatic external defibrillator, a portable device that delivers electric shocks to the heart to restart a normal heartbeat.

Cayucos Fire Department and San Luis Ambulance crews arrived shortly after and took the man to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, where he was awake and speaking upon his family’s arrival, according to the news release.

The man’s name wasn’t disclosed.

Ben Hunt of Paso Robles, who was having dinner with his wife, was across the street from the man when he saw him fall to the ground.

“It looked like he was seizing and when I got up to him he was kind-of awake but his eyes were shut and his face was bright red,” said Hunt, who is trained in CPR because he is a psychiatric technician at Atascadero State Hospital.

Hunt said he felt the man’s wrist and couldn’t feel a pulse so he started doing chest compressions.

The man’s wife helped by breathing into his mouth, Hunt said. After a while a woman, who also knew CPR, offered to take over, Hunt said.

“Then we felt a faint pulse,” Hunt added.

He said it was the first time that he had to use his training in an emergency.

“I thought of those situations where people are looking at someone and so in shock that no one does anything,” Hunt said. “And then it just came naturally.”

Hunt, who left without giving his name to deputies, said he called the Sheriff’s Department on Saturday to see if the man was OK.

“I’m just really happy that he is doing okay,” he said.