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Newburyport Police Officers Honored for Saving the Life of Amesbury Woman after Crash

City Marshal Mark Murray wishes to acknowledge Newburyport Police Department Officers John Gavin, Eric Marshall, Kevin Martin, and Sgt. Greg Whitney, who saved the life of a motorist last month after she suffered a medical emergency, leading to a motor vehicle crash.

On Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018, at 6:23 p.m., Newburyport police and fire were called to Spofford Street for a report of a motor vehicle that had crashed into a mailbox. Officer Marshall, who was first on scene, found an unresponsive woman who had been driving a Toyota Corolla.

Officer Marshall broke a rear window of the locked car, and with help from Officer Gavin extricated the woman from the vehicle. The two officers then used an automated external defibrillator in an attempt to restart her heart. Officer Martin then began giving the woman rescue breaths through a mask while Officer Gavin performed chest compressions. Sgt. Whitney later took over performing chest compressions on the woman.

The driver, a 53 year old Amesbury woman, had a weak pulse when the Amesbury Fire Department and Atlantic Ambulance arrived on scene. She was taken by ambulance to Anna Jaques Hospital, and was later taken by a medical helicopter to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston where she was treated for a cardiac issue.

Marshal Murray subsequently received word that the victim had survived and was recovering. In recent days, he received a heartfelt, handwritten letter signed by her father, Dwight Murphey, of Wichita, Kansas, thanking the officers for saving his daughter’s life.

“The three officers and Sgt. Whitney responded quickly and effectively to this crash, and their immediate actions help to save this person’s life,” Marshal Murray said. “Thanks to their training and experience, they were able to deploy the defibrillator and begin CPR during the vital first moments.”

Murphey, writing on behalf of himself and his wife, Virginia, praised the training and equipment the Newburyport Police Department supplies it’s officers with, and also wrote that his daughter is recuperating well from the incident.

“For several days, we and others in her family were worried about possible brain damage from her heart stoppage,” Murphey wrote. “It was an incredible relief when we were told she had none. Your policeman’s perfect response had not only saved her life, but had kept her mind intact.”

Marshal Murray will present commendations to Officers Marshall, Gavin, Martin, and Sgt. Whitney at the City Council meeting Monday at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall on Pleasant Street.

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