Local EMT saves bicyclist’s life | AspenTimes.com

Local EMT saves bicyclist’s life

A 52-year-old man is OK today following a near-fatal bicycle accident on the Rio Grande Trail Wednesday.

John Miller was admitted to Aspen Valley Hospital yesterday, with a concussion and bumps and bruises, shortly after the noontime accident. He was reported in “good condition” by a hospital spokesperson.

Miller and his wife, Kathleen, were bicycling toward town from Cemetery Lane on the trail, when “somehow the two of them crashed together,” according to Community Safety Officer Rick Magnuson of the Aspen Police Department.

The contact caused Miller to fall, striking his head on the paved pathway, Magnuson said. Miller lost consciousness and stopped breathing, he said. The Millers were not wearing helmets.

“An EMT just happened to be riding by on his bike and came across this scene,” Magnuson said. “[Kathleen] didn’t know what to do, and was hysterical, while [John] was unconscious and not breathing. He wasn’t breathing because the airway was closed, due to the position of his head.

Emergency medical technician Sam Pappas came along about three minutes after the crash and stopped to help. “He tilted [John’s] head back, and it worked,” Magnuson said. “Mr. Miller started coughing and breathing and that saved him. If no one came along and opened his airway, he would’ve died.”

Miller regained consciousness a few moments after he began drawing breaths, Magnuson said, and an ambulance arrived shortly thereafter to transport him to AVH.

“We’ve had one fatal bike accident this summer and this one was life threatening,” Magnuson said. “If they were wearing helmets, it may have turned out differently.”

Daniel Dutko, of Chevy Chase, Md., died at a Grand Junction Hospital July 27, two days after sustaining a critical head injury while bicycling down Maroon Creek Road. He was not wearing a helmet.

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