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Two men save driver suffering seizure at busy Raleigh intersection

Posted September 11, 2013
Updated September 18, 2013

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— At the busy Raleigh intersection of Interstate 440 and Glenwood Avenue on Wednesday morning, Cynthia Reid-Hope's world went blank. 

"For the most part, I'm OK," she said Wednesday night. "A few bruises, but I'm OK."

Reid-Hope suffered a seizure behind the wheel. 

Luckily, Ideal Heating and Cooling co-workers Sergio Codoy and Jon Clark were sitting at a red light when they saw her cross the intersection and drive into the grass. Putting their service call on hold, the two men sprang into action.

"When we got to her, the car was locked," Clark said. "One of the main concerns was making sure the car didn't take off anymore." 

"We saw it got worse because we saw blood come out of her mouth and it looked like she was about to pass out," Codoy said. "So, I ran to the truck, grabbed a hammer and knocked out the back window."

Codoy jumped in the car and held Reid-Hope upright.

Sergio Codoy and Jon Clark Good Samaritans save woman having seizure behind wheel

"I was holding her head up and dropped her jaw and grabbed her tongue to make sure she didn't bite her tongue off and make sure the tongue wasn't swallowed," he said.

Codoy said his military training in combat life-saving allowed him to act quickly to help Reid-Hope. Both men say they were glad to be in the right place at the right time.

"There's not many chances that you get to help someone and save their life and it just, it really impacts you," Clark said.

Reid-Hope said she's grateful to the men who saved her life.

"All I could think was, 'Thank God,' because it could have been much worse," she said. "So, I'm standing here by the grace of God."

The Epilepsy Information Service offered these tips to help someone who has a seizure: 

  • Keep calm. Help him/her lie down. Roll the person onto his/her side, preferably left side. This allows saliva to drain out. Remove glasses and loosen tight clothing.
  • Clear the area of hard, sharp or hot objects which could cause injury. Place something soft under the head.
  • Do not restrain the person. You can not stop a seizure once it has begun.
  • Do not force anything between the teeth. Attempts to prevent tongue-biting can do more harm than good. The tongue cannot be swallowed.
  • Following the seizure, the person will. often be sleepy and need to rest.
  • Do not offer anything to drink until the person is fully awake.

Call 911 only if:

  • the person has one seizure after another without waking up. 
  • the person does not start breathing after the seizure. (It is normal for people to have difficulty breathing during a seizure.)
  • the person has been injured.

this is the person's first seizure.


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  • Mon Account Sep 13, 2013

    Thats the dumbest thing I have ever heard actually if one is convulsing they CAN swallow thier tongue. Dont be talking about others educating themselves when maybe you could use a class or two.. Sorry your daughter has seizures but kust because she does makes you no expert. and yes I have an education work as a PA for a very good Dr's practice

    Unless you cut your tongue off and stick it down your throat, you cannot swallow it. My source: medical research, not just working in a doctor's office. I had a battle with someone over this a few months back and nearly wrote a thesis on it to get them to believe me.

  • carrboroyouth Sep 13, 2013

    Great story but unless they are choking on something, leave their mouth alone. You can't swallow your tongue and they could have injured their fingers.

  • ncwolf08 Sep 13, 2013

    WRAL, thanks for actually printing a happy ending story. These guys were heroes. I wonder how many people would have passed by slowly and stared, never stopping to help. I think the number would have been great. I applaud these two men for their quick actions. This scenario could have ended quite differently if they had not cared enough to stop. I am disappointed at all the "know it alls" who are commenting on how these two should have handled things. I dare say that none of these "know it alls" would have stopped to offer their assistance. They just have really big egos that cause them to make everything about themselves and how something should have been handled or how they would have handled it. Forgive me, but if I am ever in a situation such as this, I will take the assistance of the two men that cared enough to stop over you arm chair "know it alls".

  • heelsgirl05 Sep 13, 2013

    great job guys! yes, technically they were not supposed to stick something in her mouth, but turning her on her side was not an option since she was in a car (what you are supposed to do if someone is having a seizure) they did the best they could with what they had at hand.

  • ER_RN68 Sep 12, 2013

    You can bite off a piece of your tongue and swallow that piece, but not your entire tongue, although it may temporarily fall back during a seizure and block the airway.

    Providing constructive feedback is not being a "know it all". An essential part of my job is to provide health education.

    Why of these comments so angry? These men did something wonderfully kind for a stranger, and all everyone is doing is bashing each other!

  • tgeorge Sep 12, 2013

    you CAN NOT - I repeat CAN NOT swallow your tongue. and while you may bite your tongue you won't bite it off! NEVER EVER EVER put anything (including your own fingers) into the mouth of someone having a seizure.

    My daughter has multiple seizures a day (every single day), so I'm pretty sure I'm up to date on my seizure first aid.

    Please educate yourself!

    Thats the dumbest thing I have ever heard actually if one is convulsing they CAN swallow thier tongue. Dont be talking about others educating themselves when maybe you could use a class or two.. Sorry your daughter has seizures but kust because she does makes you no expert. and yes I have an education work as a PA for a very good Dr's practice

  • just my2cents Sep 12, 2013

    He may have not even realized she was having or had a seizure, but these men saved her life with the training they had. Awesome work, guys!

  • beachboater Sep 12, 2013

    "Too bad his training on seizure first aid was wrong." triangleMommy

    I guess it's too bad that their outdated training was able to save this woman's life. The reporter could easily miss the important wording and the good guys might have had camera fright.

    Bottom line, this lady is mighty lucky these two men were at the right place and the right time and they had enough knowledge to do what was necessary to help her.

    It would have been very easy just to drive on when the light changed to green, and many people would have and probably did do just that. Everybody is always in the what's in it for me mentality these days. The two men, or go ahead and say it, heroes were there, and did what needed to be done.

    Congratulations on a job well done guys.

  • LordHelpUsAll Sep 12, 2013

    Instead of being a "know it all" maybe you could just say "great job guys." I'm sure this lady was happy they sprang into action on her behalf and clearly had a very good outcome! So why not lets leave it at that? Geez.

  • rvpatel Sep 12, 2013

    What a wonderful story to hear in the world full of hate and sadness. Great Job Guys! Glad to have some good hearted people in the world!