responders honored

Pictured from front left are Sulphur Mayor Mike Danahay, Sulphur Fire Department Inspector Richard Wingard, Sulphur Police Officer A.J. Powell, Sulphur Police Officer Justin Duplechin, Sulphur Police Chief Lewis Coats, and Sulphur Council members Joy Abshire, Melinda Hardy, Mike Koonce and Mandy Thomas. The City Council honored these heroes for saving the life of a man in distress.

At the Monday Sulphur City Council meeting, members of the Sulphur police and fire departments were honored by proclamation for saving a man’s life.

On February 11, off duty SPD officer A.J. Powell observed a car he was traveling behind heading east on Interstate-10 begin to slow down and veer from the outside lane onto the shoulder, then veer back into traffic and drift into the middle travel lane, where it was struck by an 18-wheeler — sending the car crashing into a construction barrier.

Powell stopped to assist and found he couldn’t open the driver’s side door. Inside the vehicle, Iowa resident Preston Manuel was slumped over and unresponsive. Powell broke the window to unlock the door and checked for a pulse. He couldn’t find one nor was Manuel breathing.

Powell called for police and fire assistance and then got Manuel out of the car and began to administer CPR. SPD officers Benton Barnett and Justin Duplechin and SFD Fire Inspector Richard Wingard responded and they, along with other fire and police personnel, administered CPR in shifts until an ambulance arrived.

Manuel was transported to a local hospital and was found to have an undiagnosed heart condition, which led to the crash. Mayor Mike Danahay said that within 24 hours of the crash, Manuel was alert, responding to medical staff and off the ventilator he was placed on when he arrived.

“It is no doubt the life-saving measures provided by Officer Powell, Fire Inspector Wingard, officers Duplechin and Barnett saved this driver’s life,” Danahay said.

Powell teaches CPR at the law enforcement training academy. He has been with the SPD almost 15 years. Chief Lewis Coats noted that Monday was the second time officers Powell and Duplechin have been before the council to receive an award for saving a life. Coats said he can’t count the number of times CPR is administered and the recipient does not survive. He said when responders examined Manuel at the scene, he showed no signs of life. “He was clinically dead,” said Coats.

In other news:

• The council approved an introduction to adopt the millage rates at 5.850 mills in general alimony and 5.3 mills each for fire and street maintenance, for the tax year 2020.

City Attorney Cade Cole said the proposed rate, slightly higher than the current one, will bring in the same revenue. The adjusted rate is not considered a roll forward. The introduction will be voted on at the September council meeting.

• The council appointed Tommy Little to the West Calcasieu Airport Managing Board.

• The council approved liquor licenses for the Baymont Inn & Suites, 325 Arena Road; Cast and Cleaver, LLC., 303 South Cities Service Hwy. And the Grab N Geaux 10, 1501 Ruth St.