• Heart attack survivor thanks Good Samaritan, first responders

    By: Alison Grande

    Updated:

    A truck driver from Olympia is alive because of a good Samaritan and the quick work of first responders. On Tuesday, he got to say thank you.

    Darell Buckingham, 61, was driving a semitruck on Dec. 26. Instead of taking the on-ramp onto I-90 eastbound in North Bend, he rolled his rig into the woods.

    Another alert truck driver saw what happened. 

    Jeff Dennis called 911, and pulled Buckingham out of the cab. At first he thought the driver was choking, he'd been eating a hot dog at the time of the crash. After clearing his mouth he realized Buckingham needed CPR.

    King County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Sprecher responded to the 911 call and arrived with an automated external defibrillator. 

    Eastside Fire and Rescue medics were next and rushed Buckingham to the hospital.

    Buckingham had a heart attack and suffered a stroke. 

    For six months he's been recovering. Physical therapy is helping him get his mobility back. His speech is slower.

    Nothing could get in the way of the gratitude he showed for the men who saved his life. 

    They were strangers and now vow to be fishing buddies, when Buckingham is well enough to go along.

     


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