Local News

State trooper saves life of choking man

Posted February 3, 2011 9:22 p.m. EST
Updated February 4, 2011 7:40 a.m. EST

— While eating lunch at the Cary Towne Center food court on Thursday, state Highway Patrol Lt. Ken Kubas helped save a life. 

Kubas, a trained emergency medical technician, and other members of the patrol noticed a commotion a couple tables over. Tyler Keehn, 20, was choking on a piece of food, and his mother was attempting to dislodge the food from his mouth. 

Keehn, who is mentally and physically handicapped, was turning blue and on the verge of losing consciousness when Kubas performed the Heimlich maneuver. 

"I actually performed it, about 15 Heimlich thrusts, in order for the piece of food to become dislodged. When it did, he started breathing normally again," Kubas said. 

Keehn's mother said that she was about to call for help when the troopers arrived. She called Kubas a "godsend" and said her son is doing fine. 

Kubas, a trooper for the past 17 years, doesn't think of himself as a hero.

"I'm just doing my job and am glad I could help somebody in need," he said. "That's what we were supposed to do, and that's what we're trained to do. It just comes second nature."

Kubas said troopers go through CPR training every two years, and he's only had to do chest compressions on a victim once. He's also one of several troopers trained as an EMT.

He said with that training, he didn't have to think twice about stepping in to help.

"I think as much training with CPR and EMT, it just becomes second nature," he said. 

Of the 1,800 sworn troopers in the state, 117 are certified EMTs, and 15 are paramedics.