Video: KDPS officer saves choking driver

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Dashcam video shows a Kalamazoo police officer saved a choking woman during a traffic stop.

It happened around 11:35 a.m. Saturday in the 4100 block of S. Burdick Street, according to the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety. Officer Jason Gates pulled over a van for running a red light at Cork Street.

“I didn’t really intend to issue her a ticket, but I thought I really wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t at least stop her and talk to her,” Gates told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday.

When Gates walked up to the van, he found the female driver could not breathe.

“For the first second or so, I thought she might be trying to get out of a ticket,” Gates said.

On the video, he can be heard asking the driver if she is choking.

“I tried to dislodge the item from her throat by hitting her on the back, and when that did not work, I used the Heimlich maneuver for the first time in my nine-year career, and it worked,” Gates said.

He forced a bite of sausage and bun out of woman’s throat.

Gates said he knew what to do because KDPS officers are also trained as firefighters and EMTs.

“Extra EMS training is one thing we receive here and even though I have never used it, I am glad that I received that training and was able to use it successfully,” he said.

The video shows the driver begin to sob, and then hug Gates and thank him for saving her.

Gates said he “wasn’t expecting” the hug from the relieved woman.

“I am just glad I was there for her,” Gates said.

The woman was not ticketed.

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