Catherine Ross/Plano Journalist
Joseph Rowe says Plano Police Officer Shane Pace saved his life when his ventilator failed while on a DART bus.
A Plano officer was the first person on the scene to perform lifesaving CPR for a North Texas man last month.
A Dallas Area Rapid Transit bus driver flagged Officer Shane Pace down when rider Joseph Rowe's ventilator stopped working.
Rowe, who was on his way to meet a friend at the State Fair of Texas, realized he couldn’t breathe.
“My ventilator quit working,” he said.
Rowe told the bus driver to pull over and call 911. While waiting on emergency responders, the driver saw Pace.
“And then Officer Pace ran onto the bus and started giving me mouth-to-mouth,” Rowe said.
A typical afternoon for Pace means traffic enforcement. He said something he couldn't quite put his finger on had made him move from his normal intersection minutes earlier.
“That’s when the DART bus driver pulled right behind me,” Pace said.
Pace said he saw something in Rowe that reminded him of his nearly 2-year-old son, who has a history of losing the ability to breathe.
“I have a special needs son, and I saw the panic that I’ve seen in his eyes in Mr. Rowe’s eyes,” Pace said.
He kept oxygen flowing to Rowe until emergency responders arrived.
Medical professionals said Pace saved Rowe from death or critical brain damage, something that would have cost Rowe his independence.
“When your brain goes without oxygen -- even if they get you back -- you’re not the same person anymore,” said Meg Smith, EMS educator at The Medical Center of Plano.
“I would have died, there’s no doubt about it,” Rowe said.
He said everyone should be grateful to the men and women who write our traffic tickets because, one day, they may turn around and save our lives.