SPRINGBORO, Ohio — David Gamble didn’t feel lucky when he saw flashing lights in his rearview mirror on I-75, but he was — astonishingly so. If he hadn’t been on the side of the road when his heart stopped, the officers who pulled him over might not have been able to save his life.
He doesn’t remember much about what happened, he said Monday night. He had been riding passenger in his son’s car when police stopped them, telling them the vehicle had the wrong plates. There were officers at his window one moment; he was in Southview Hospital the next.
Officers Joshua Emmel and and Cody Baker remember everything that happened in between.
Emmel had been talking to Gamble and his son while Baker checked their driver’s licenses, he said.
“He wasn’t breathing,” Emmel said of Gamble. “His face started turning a different color. That’s when I knew something what obviously wrong.”
He and Baker had both been trained to use an AED on a person experiencing a heart attack, but neither had ever actually had to do it. Baker had only been with the Springboro Police Department for six months.
He was the one who grabbed the AED from the car, he said. As he placed the paddles on Gamble’s chest, he noticed the man’s eyes rolled all the way to the back of his head.
It took three shocks to restart his heart.
"A lot was running through my mind,” Baker said. “Mainly it was getting this guy the help he needs, doing CPR, apply the AED, do what we have to do until further help can get there."
Emmel’s calm while they administered the shocks and performed CPR surprised even Emmel.
“I just knew exactly what to do,” he said. “I was calm the whole time. That's the biggest thing that you need to do when you're in these situations is stay calm and revert back to your training."
They were able to stabilize Gamble before Franklin emergency responders arrived to take him to the hospital.
By Monday, he was still recovering — but he wanted the officers to know he was grateful for their help.
“(I’m) weak and tired,” he said. “I’d like to say, ‘Thank you.’”
Emmel and Baker both said they were happy to help.
"It's a great feeling,” Emmel said. “That's probably the best feeling I'll ever have is being able to save somebody. It's not about just arresting people and giving people tickets. It's about helping people and saving people's lives out here."