Clearwater police office saves man from choking at Chick-fil-A restaurant

Pinellas County

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Talk about being in the right place at the right time!

A Clearwater police officer saved a man’s life during the breakfast rush hour at the Chick-fil-A restaurant at the corner of Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard and Old Coachman Road Tuesday morning.

When you’re choking, it’s a real blessing to have a 6’3″ police officer with lots of muscles just a few feet away.

“While I was standing there, he came over and he grabbed my shoulder,” said Sgt. Corey Lenczden. “Allegedly, it was because of my size, to make sure he grabbed someone who could hold him firm and get it out.”

Lucky for that customer, Sgt. Lenczden knew exactly what to do.

“I spun him around, I did the Heimlich,” he said.

Vicki Haynes works just three blocks down the street at Dayton Andrews Dodge. Not too long ago, she was in a very similar situation. She recalls it as being, “Just panic. Just absolute sheer panic.”

While eating a piece of candy at work, it somehow went down the wrong way. Thankfully, her co-worker, Pam Farrington, knew exactly what to do.

“I was looking at her and she was clearly in distress,” Farrington said.

“She just immediately went into action ’cause I couldn’t…you can’t get any breath,” said Haynes.

Farrington learned the Heimlich in high school and says the key is to act fast and with confidence.

“You can’t hesitate. You just have to go and do it.”

As for Sgt. Lunczden, he humbly says he’s just very thankful he was there to help save a life,

“Yep, always on duty. I would have done it even if I wasn’t working,” he said.

Follow Jenn Holloway on Facebook


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