NEWTON COUNTY, Ga. - A Newton County man is making a remarkable recovery after a heart attack and crash that nearly claimed his life.
Ernest Smith, 72, got emotional meeting the three strangers who saved his life. He went into cardiac arrest and crashed a delivery truck into a light pole and tree along Industrial Boulevard in Covington last month.
“I’m just thankful that God does put people in place,” Smith said.
An off-duty Newton County sheriff’s deputy, a Covington police officer and a nurse heard the crash and rushed to help him.
“When I got there, there was no pulse, no respiration and they had already started CPR. So then after I got there, I started to give them a break,” nurse Catherine Stephens said.
“It was pretty intense. Lightning, raining, we had people holding umbrellas over us,” Officer Brian Capps said.
Capps had a defibrillator, which he had never used on a victim before.
“When it said administer shock, all three of us were telling everyone to stand back and right before I hit the button, I’m like, ‘Please Lord let this work,’ and it did,” Capps said.
“It don’t matter how much training you put together, to save even one life, so Mr. Smith can enjoy his family, it made it all worthwhile,” Cpl. Charles Cook said.
Stephens said the lesson is that every officer in the country should have a defibrillator on hand.
Smith, with his wife of 47 years by his side, is now on the road to recovery.
“I feel good. Every day getting better and better,” Smith said.