West High student tells story of performing possible life-saving CPR

Feb 19, 2019, 5:01 PM | Updated: 7:39 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Highway Patrol extended their thanks to a group of West High School students after they performed “likely lifesaving CPR” on a critically injured driver Tuesday afternoon.

The accident left a car upside down on an I-15 on-ramp and its driver in critical condition. Officers initially did not know anything about the first responders, other than that they were likely West High School students. They eventually made contact with the students and we were able to sit down with Felix Ortiz, 17, and get his story.

Ortiz says he was alone driving home from school. He says he didn’t see the crash himself, but arrived to the scene to see the car upside down.

“I noticed the traffic and it seemed like a lot for the hour,” Ortiz said. “And then I look around and I see a car flipped over.”

He says there was someone already there trying to talk to the man through a passenger door. He said he first looked around to see who else was there if police had arrived or an ambulance. He says when he arrived there were no first responders there.

“So I just kind of kicked into action,” said Ortiz. “And I was like ‘Okay what do I need to do now?'”

Ortiz says there was a man pinned in the car at the time and still had his seat belt on. So Ortiz went around the other side of the car to be able to undo the seat belt.

“Once I got that off, I was able to grab his legs, pull him out, grab him by the belt and yank him out of the car,” Ortiz said.

He says once he got the man out he started to assess what he may need to do to help the victim.

“I looked at him and he was going purple,” Ortiz said. “So I knew he wasn’t breathing and he was beginning to foam at the mouth. Then I checked for a pulse and there was nothing and I realized I needed to begin compressions.”

Ortiz said authorities arrived about four minutes later, but he says he was able to get the man breathing by the time crews arrived. The West High student told KSL Newsradio he had never done something like this before.

“That was the first time I had ever performed CPR live on someone,” said Ortiz.

He credits his parents for always keep him prepared for a moment “for whatever comes next”. He says he’s done CPR classes and he’s done some things at West High to prepare himself as well.

“I just like to be prepared for everything,” Ortiz said.

Tim Hughes, filling in for Jeff Caplan, asked the teen if he felt like hero.

“I wouldn’t say I feel like a hero,” Ortiz said. “I kind of just put myself in that situation, I’d like someone to do the same exact thing for me or someone in my family, just take action.”

The driver of the car was taken to an area hospital in critical condition.

This is a developing story. More information will be added as it becomes available. 

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