Edgartown Police help save a motorist

Firefighters roll up on a smoking truck, hotel fire alarms, and a Jeep against a utility pole.

A 67-year-old Connecticut man suffered an apparent heart attack and crashed near the Kelly House Friday. - Photo courtesy Edgartown Police

Updated Sept. 17

Edgartown Police Det. Mike Snowden and Sgt. Joel DeRoche helped to save a driver’s life Friday morning. Snowden was off duty when he spotted a smoking vehicle near the Kelley House, according to Police Chief Bruce McNamee, and rushed to the scene to aid the driver of a pickup truck — an unidentified Connecticut resident. He then began CPR, as the driver had no heartbeat, Chief McNamee said. Detective Snowden was joined shortly thereafter by DeRoche, who was on duty, and Edgartown Fire Department and EMS personnel, including paramedic Haley Krauss and Fire Chief Alex Schaeffer, who also performed CPR on the driver. Chief Schaeffer said Detective Snowden was helped by a bystander who happened to be a nurse. DeRoche also helped give the driver medical assistance, McNamee and Schaeffer said. Once Edgartown first responders were able to sustain heart function, EMTs used an AED (automated external defibrillator) to restore a proper heart rhythm, Chief Schaeffer said.

The scene was complex due to “collateral circumstances,” Chief Schaffer noted. The pickup, which had smashed into planters in front on the Newes From America pub, was smoking. Fire alarms were abuzz in the Kelley House (immediately adjacent to Newes). An unoccupied Jeep Cherokee was pushed against a utility pole, and raised fears that a transformer might have been compromised.

Chief Schaeffer directed an engine crew to tackle the the pickup, which never produced flames. The Kelley House was evacuated, though nothing amiss was discovered. Chief Schaeffer said he suspected fumes from the pickup triggered the hotel’s alarms. Eversource was called to address the utility pole.

The motorist was taken by ambulance to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital in an Edgartown ambulance, according to Schaeffer.

A release issued by Edgartown Police Lt. Chris Dolby, who was incident commander for the department at the scene, stated the driver was “flown to Boston Medical Center, where he was listed in serious condition in the cardiac unit.”

The cause of the accident appeared to be a medical event suffered by the motorist, McNamee said, but the accident remains under investigation.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the work they did,” McNamee said said of his officers. “I will certainly be recognizing them for that effort.”

“It’s all a testament to Edgartown public safety’s commitment to training,” Schaeffer said. And while that part of town doesn’t see many vehicular accidents, “it reminds us anything can happen anywhere,” he said.