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Deputy rescues unconscious driver, toddler in runaway car on I-15

Published: Friday, Sept. 7 2012 6:29 p.m. MDT

As a Davis County sheriff's deputy Matt Boucher has been involved in some interesting situations. On Aug. 26, 2012, he spotted an unconscious driver on I-15. He ran after the car that was going about 4 miles per hour. He was able to stop it safely.

Jen Pilgreen, Deseret News

FARMINGTON — Davis County sheriff's deputy Matt Boucher has responded to some strange situations during his 8 ½ years with the agency, but few of them rival his recent encounter with an unconscious driver on I-15.

On Aug. 26, Boucher was running radar on Legacy Highway when dispatchers put out an attempt-to-locate for a reckless driver on I-15. Other motorists had called in to report that a Mazda sedan was weaving in and out of traffic after slamming into a concrete Jersey barrier. The callers also reported that there as a child in the car.

Boucher made the quick drive to I-15 and spotted the car rolling down the road at about 4 mph.

"I could see that the driver was unconscious," the deputy said. "He was slumped over in the driver's seat, and you could see a car seat in the back with a little girl in it.  

"I had to react quick, didn't even think, just did what I needed to do," Boucher said.

Boucher threw his patrol vehicle in park, bailed out and charged after the Mazda. When he reached the car, the driver's door was locked, but he was able to reach through the open window and pull the emergency brake to get the car stopped.

"I was able to wake him up after a little bit of trying and he became slightly combative, didn't know what was going on, was very confused," Boucher said.

Like all Davis County sheriff's deputies, Boucher is a certified paramedic. He began assessing the driver's medical condition but found nothing that would immediately explain his loss of consciousness.

"I checked his blood sugar, but it was OK," the deputy said, noting that he also did not detect an odor of alcohol on the man's breath.

The 35-year-old man passed out again when he was loaded into an ambulance and remained unconscious "for quite some time" at the hospital, Boucher said. Investigators still weren't sure what caused the man to lose consciousness.

The Utah Highway Patrol investigated the incident and cited the driver for failure to have an interlock ignition device on his vehicle, driving on a denied license and improper lane travel.

As for the toddler in the backseat?

"The child was sleeping," Boucher said. "She had no idea what was going on."  

The girl was reunited with her mother, the deputy said, noting that even though he was concerned about his own safety as he ran down I-15 toward the car, he'd do the same thing again "without hesitation."

"It's our job. It's what we do," he said.

E-mail: gliesik@desnews.com, Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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