May 23, 2017
For Chris Tyrolt, a five-year Teamster driver at Peninsula Truck Lines, the day was progressing just like any other on the route he had been driving every day for a year and a half. After making a delivery to a customer in Lakewood, Tyrolt parked his truck and began to eat his lunch.
Suddenly, all hell broke loose.
“I saw this young kid run past my truck, full speed, and when I looked where he was running, this guy was just on the ground,” Tyrolt said. “He looked like he was maybe having a seizure, legs and arms up in the air, foaming at the mouth.”
In a situation that would have left many of us frozen with panic, Tyrolt sprang into action. He ran over to the man and assessed the situation. “He obviously wasn’t breathing, and his eyes were totally glazed over,” Tyrolt said.
He quickly ordered one person to call 911 while he started doing chest compressions on the man. Tyrolt had previously been trained in first aid, but that was many years ago. He was operating mainly on instinct at this point.
With some guidance from the 911 operator, Tyrolt turned the man on his side to clear his airway and then began doing chest compressions in sets of five. After the third set, the man finally began gasping for air – the first signs of breathing since the incident began.
Tyrolt tirelessly continued to do sets of chest compressions, with the man gasping for air between each set. This went on for an exhausting 7-8 minutes before paramedics arrived on the scene. By the time the professionals got there, the man’s eyes and skin color had both improved dramatically.
At that point, Tyrolt described a scene out of a TV show: the paramedics intubated the man and began giving him air, and shocked him three times with a defibrillator. By the time the paramedics took him away in an ambulance, the man was breathing and had a heartbeat. He is currently in stable condition, though he has not yet woken up.
Tobin Edwards of Atlas Supply — the customer at whose warehouse the incident occurred — sang Tyrolt’s praises. “My hat’s off to Chris,” he said. “He did a great job. Not just this, but he’s also a great driver and a great guy.”
When congratulated for his incredible bravery and coolness in the face of chaos and panic, Tyrolt was typically humble. “Maybe somebody will have to do it for me someday,” he said simply.
“All I can say is, if any of us are ever in that situation, I hope that someone like Chris is around to step in,” said Teamsters Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks. “In the meantime, we at Teamsters Local 174 are incredibly proud to have Brother Tyrolt on our team.”