Summit County cop honored for snowy rescue
Ryan Summerlin February 10, 2013
When dispatchers got the 911 call Jan. 28, they thought the person on the other line might be having a heart attack.
The caller had managed to tell the operator he was experiencing chest pains and couldn’t walk, before he became incoherent.
Four minutes later, deputy Ron Stewart responded to the scene, near Summit Medical Center in Frisco, but couldn’t find the victim, or any tracks in the snow that might lead him to the man’s location.
Then, fire response arrived on scene and Stewart had the sirens in the fire engines activated. Dispatchers, who were still on the phone with the victim, said they could hear the sirens over the phone, so Stewart knew they were close. When they found the man a few minutes later, moaning in the snow in a clump of aspen trees, his life was, in fact, in danger. But he was suffering from hypothermia, not a heart attack.
Summit County Sheriff John Minor awarded Stewart the Lifesaving Medal for his quick action, which resulted in a successful rescue.
“It is a great honor and a high privilege to present you with this award,” Minor told Stewart at a small ceremony last week. “Your actions were truly outstanding and worthy of meritorious recognition.”
It took Stewart 12 minutes to locate the victim in the dark that night, in 19-degree temperatures and lightly falling snow. When he was discovered, the man could no longer walk and showing signs of extreme hypothermia.
A report from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office regarding the incident indicates the man had tried to roll down a hill, in a desperate attempt to reach the nearby hospital without the use of his legs.
Authorities said if he had not been found so quickly, he almost certainly would have died.