Quick response from Hunts Point DPS brings stricken trucker back to life

| 10/10/2003

A California truck driver remains hospitalized in New York City after a massive heart attack on the job. The driver’s boss says the quick response of the Department of Safety’s Emergency Services Unit at Hunts Point saved the driver’s life.

Trucker David Benson, 56, collapsed beside his employer’s truck early on the morning of Oct. 1 after delivering to one of the markets at the enormous cooperative in New York’s Bronx. 

Responding were Sgt. Hector Santiago and Officer William Vargas, who said the trucker appeared lifeless. According to ESU’s Chief Jose Colon, it looked like Benson “just stepped from his truck and dropped to the ground dead.”

Vargas reported no pulse and immediately began CPR while Sgt. Santiago called for the DPS emergency unit. Lt. Peter Santana and Officer Iman Tirado, both EMTs, responded. All four men worked quickly to try to revive the trucker. When they could not get a pulse, Colon said they took out the automatic electronic defibrillator (AED) and delivered two shocks. The second shock produced a pulse and the med techs administered oxygen.

Colon said the Fire Department arrived and continued treating the trucker, but he went into cardiac arrest again.

“After a third shock, he regained a pulse and was taken to Lincoln Memorial Hospital in critical condition,” said Colon.

Benson is a resident of Yucaipa, CA. He drives for Ed Stratton Trucking, Adelanto, CA.

“The guys at Hunts Point saved him,” says Stratton. “He had a massive heart attack. He was dead. They brought him back.”

According to Stratton, Benson remained unconscious for four days after the collapse.

“Now, the good news is he’s stable, but there’s some bad news, too,” he says. “And that’s when he fell, he broke his back.”

Stratton says Benson is still at Lincoln Memorial in the Bronx and soon will be transferred to New York’s Belleview Hospital. He says Benson’s wife and stepdaughter are at his side.

Stratton says Benson is in his prayers.

“He’s been driving for us for three years,” he says, “and I can tell you, he is one of the best.”

--by Sandi Soendker, managing editor

Sandi Soendker can be reached at ooida@aol.com