At about 1:20 p.m. Wednesday, March 10, Sevierville Police Department Sergeant Bryan Lewelling was on routine patrol and stopped at the traffic signal on Dolly Parton Parkway at Henderson Avenue.
Sgt. Lewelling noticed that the driver in the vehicle next to him was slumped over the wheel and appeared unconscious. The vehicle started moving while the driver was still unconscious and was drifting left towards oncoming east bound Dolly Parton Parkway 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. Sgt. Lewelling was able to stop the vehicle just as it was about to cross into oncoming traffic.
Sgt. Lewelling exited his vehicle and discovered all the other vehicle’s 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.
SPD Sergeant Michael Maddron deployed his AED and SPD Officer Brandon Tinker performed/assisted with CPR until Sevierville Fire Department and Sevier County Ambulance personnel could arrive and take over.
The citizen was then transported to LeConte Medical Center where hospital staff were able to stabilize her before she was transported to Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center for further treatment. A member of LMC hospital staff asserted that if not for the quick and decisive actions of Sgt. Lewelling, Sgt. Maddron, and Officer Tinker, the citizen may have died.
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.
“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. He was ultimately flown by Lifestar to the University of Tennessee Medical Center.