Kalamazoo Traffic Stop Turns Into Choking Rescue

A routine Kalamazoo traffic stop quickly became an attempt to save a woman from choking to death this past Saturday. In what looks to be an ordinary traffic stop caught on video thanks to Officer Jason Gates’s dash cam, the officer pulls over a woman driving an SUV, but instead of giving her a ticket, he ended up having to perform the Heimlich maneuver in order to save her from choking on her lunch:

According to USA Today, Officer Jason Gates of the Kalamazoo, Michigan Police Department was on duty when he noticed an SUV run a red light around 11:30 am ET Saturday morning. As per procedure, Officer Gates pulled the woman over. As he approached the vehicle, Officer Gates told Mlife Kalamazoo that he noticed she was having some trouble breathing:

“For the first second or so I thought she might be trying to just get out of a ticket and then I realized she was in legitimate respiratory distress.”

It was then that Officer Gates knew this wasn’t an ordinary traffic stop. He quickly jumped into action and can be seen in the video pulling the woman out of her vehicle before he started doing the Heimlich maneuver.

“I tried to dislodge the item from her throat by just hitting her on the back,” Gates said. “When that didn’t work, I got her out and I used the Heimlich for the first time in my nine year police career and it worked.”

According to USA Today, thanks to Officer Gates’ quick response, he was able to dislodge a piece of sausage and biscuit from the woman’s throat. Moments after the unnamed woman caught her breath, she reportedly threw herself into Officer Gates’ arms, thanking him for saving her life.

“‘I was not expecting that,’ he said of the hug. ‘She was relieved. I’m glad I was there for her. I’m sure this happens to police officers all the time, but rarely does this get caught on a dash cam,’ Gates humbly told a room of reporters during a press conference Tuesday at KDPS headquarters. ‘I just feel like I did what I’m paid to do. I’m glad for her that I happened to be there.’”

After the woman appeared to have calmed down, Officer Gates let her go with simply a warning. He told reporters that he never intended to give her a ticket in the first place. While people are calling Officer Gates a hero for saving this woman’s life, he stands by his claims that he was simply doing his duty.

[Image via Shutterstock/Ilya Andriyanov]