SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A Sevierville police officer was on routine patrol Wednesday when he pulled up to a red light on Dolly Parton Parkway at Henderson Avenue.
Sgt. Bryan Lewelling noticed the driver in the vehicle next to him was slumped over the wheel and appeared to be unconscious. The vehicle started moving, drifting left into oncoming traffic.
“To prevent an imminent collision and perform a welfare check assessment on the driver, Sgt. Lewelling maneuvered his patrol vehicle in front of the moving vehicle and intentionally allowed it to strike the rear of his vehicle,” the department said in a press release. “Sgt. Lewelling was able to stop the vehicle just as it was about to cross into oncoming traffic.”
When Lewelling reached the car, he found all the doors were locked.
“Fortunately, a witness who happened to be an off-duty paramedic stopped with a tool and was able to breach the driver’s side windows. By that point other SPD officers were arriving and were able to get the driver out of the vehicle,” the press release says.
Two other Sevierville police officers arrived. Sgt. Michael Maddron deployed his AED and Officer Brandon Tinker performed and assisted with CPR until Sevierville Fire Department and Sevier County Ambulance personnel could arrive and take over. The resident was stabilized at LeConte Medical Center and then taken to Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center for further treatment.
A member of hospital staff member said that “if not for the quick and decisive actions of Sgt. Lewelling, Sgt. Maddron, and Officer Tinker, the citizen may have died.”
“I am so proud of these officers and our entire agency for the dedication they have to our citizens and visitors, said SPD Chief Joseph Manning. “I am also grateful to SFD Chief Matt Henderson for spearheading the City’s AED program, which is a proven asset to our officers and community. This was the second traffic related cardiac arrest incident that SPD officers were involved in on this date.”
Just an hour earlier, a driver went into cardiac arrest and drove into a fence on Bruce Street and Gary Wade Boulevard, the agency said. He was flown by Lifestar to the University of Tennessee Medical Center.
“The Sevierville Police Department is extremely proud of these officers and their lifesaving efforts in this incident, and thankful for the help of the off-duty paramedic,” the department said in the release.