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Lewisboro Officer Saves Man's Life

Tom Ritchey said he was in the "right spot at the right time" to keep a Vista man from dying in front of his daughter.

It was a Sunday patrol like no other, said Tom Ritchey, a Lewisboro Police Department officer of 22 years. 

He was driving down Tribrook Drive in Vista late in the afternoon when he saw a 17-year-old girl running toward him. 

"She yelled, 'my Dad just collapsed' and I immediately stopped and called for an ambulance," he said. "I grabbed the defibrillator and oxygen from the police car."

While a neighbor consoled the high schooler, Ritchey was able to roll the man, in his 60s, over onto his back and check for a pulse. When he felt nothing, he hooked up the defibrillator and with one shock was able to bring the man's pulse back. 

"He still wasn't breathing on his own so I administered rescue breath and ventilated him with the oxygen bag until he regained his breath on his own," recalled Ritchey, a resident of Brewster, where he lives with his wife, Suanne, son Tom, a sophomore in college, and son Matthew, a senior at Brewster High School. 

Vista Ambulance and Westchester EMS arrived on the scene about 8-10 minutes later. They took the man to Norwalk Hospital. Ritchey said the latest he had heard on the man's condition was that he was recovering.

Norwalk Hospital said Tuesday afternoon they could not release an update on the man's condition.

The rescue was first reported by Lohud. When reached for a phone interview with Patch at the Vista Fire Department where he serves as district manager and asked how it felt to be a hero, Ritchey demurred.

"I was just happy and felt good that I was there. In 33 years, I've never done CPR on someone who was able to walk out of the hospital—and this man will. Had I not been in the neighborhood, and arrived ten minutes later, I might have been too late," he said.

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