ANDERSON — Police calls are never routine.
Last October, Madison County sheriff’s deputies Andy Williams and Shane Partlow were sent to a home for a report of property damage when the situation suddenly became deadly.
“It was all about the dog,” said Partlow.
“Yeah, she was upset because he was taking the dog,” said Williams.
The deputies say a tourniquet, one of hundreds donated by St. Vincent Anderson in 2014, is what saved the woman’s life.
Williams said he and Partlow arrived at the home at about the same time. It was a Sunday afternoon and a pickup truck was sitting on the road in front of the residence with heavy damage to its side and front areas.
A second truck, parked in the driveway, was also damaged.
Williams said a man outside the home claimed a woman at the address had driven through the yard and hit his truck as he was trying to leave. The deputies spoke with the woman, but when they attempted to arrest her, she backed into a nearby bedroom.
“We are not sure when she grabbed the knife or where it came from,” said Williams. “We still don’t know that. We never saw it.”
The officers pinned the woman to the bed, but her hands were tucked to her chest beneath her body. She told Williams she was going to kill herself and when he insisted that would not happen, the woman told deputies “I already did.”
Williams said that is when they found the knife.
At some point the woman used a filet knife to slice her arm lengthwise to her wrist and was able to stab herself in the abdomen. Williams said she was losing blood and consciousness when he pulled a tourniquet, which is used to stop the flow of blood to an extremity, from his bullet-proof vest and placed it on her arm.
The device immediately stopped the bleeding and medics were able to take the woman to the hospital where she was treated and later released back into police custody. Attempts to contact the woman regarding the actions of the deputies were unsuccessful.
Williams said the incident in October was the first time he had ever saved someone’s life with a tourniquet and he immediately found a replacement to carry in his vest in the event of another emergency.
Each kit is blessed with a prayer before distribution and more than 380 kits were given away in 2014 to various agencies in Madison and Randolph counties, said Marlene Carey, spokeswoman for St. Vincent Anderson.
In March, St. Vincent Anderson presented 14 specialized gunshot trauma kits to SWAT members serving on the Madison County Sheriff’s Department.
“We know from St. Vincent Anderson’s ministry as a Level III Trauma Center that immediate response to prevent blood loss is critical,” said Mike Schroyer, president of St. Vincent Anderson, Mercy and Randolph. “It saves lives. We appreciate the service of our officers and this is one small way we can help support and protect them as they support and protect all of us.”
Williams said he was trained how to apply the tourniquet by Sgt. Steve Puente of the Alexandria Police Department the day before he used it on the woman.
“I called him afterwards and thanked him,” Williams said.
Puente said it was the first time someone had contacted him after saving a life to thank him for the training.
Both Williams and Partlow have more than 40 years of combined experience on the sheriff’s department. They said their training helped them to stay focused and unhurried when faced with the woman’s life-threatening injuries.
The woman was charged with domestic battery by means of a deadly weapon, criminal recklessness committed with a deadly weapon, leaving the scene of an accident and resisting law enforcement. A jury trial is scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 20.
Follow Traci L. Miller @_TraciMiller on Twitter, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at 765-640-4805.