ESTERO, Fla. — A 66-year-old Lyft driver is dead after suffering a medical episode earlier this week while on the clock. His passenger was able to stop the vehicle and tried performing CPR to save his life.
We spoke with first responders to find out what you can do to be aware the next time you are a passenger and the best ways to stay safe.
The biggest tip is to do exactly what the passenger did — stay calm, try your best to get the car to come to a stop, and call 911.
“911 dispatchers are really good about providing directions and things that a bystander can do for treatment with somebody who is having a medical emergency," said Chief of Collier County Emergency Medical Services, Tabatha Butcher. "If there’s any way that you can assist the driver with stopping, I would say by all means try that, but do your best to just try to get them stopped to prevent any further injuries."
We also spoke with two regular ridesharing-app users about the incident to see if it will affect their behavior the next time they get in a car.
Nancy says she uses Lyft and Uber a few times a month, and like many people, hasn't thought of this kind of situation happening,
“I mean obviously you’d have to do whatever you can to help the situation and help yourself but... I never really thought about that scenario. It’s scary," Nancy said. She added she would consider sitting in the front seat if that improved her chance of assisting in an emergency.
Orlando Montes, another frequent rideshare user, commends the passenger in the Estero incident for their actions and said he would be more aware in the future.
“It’s unfortunate whatever condition the driver was in, but the fact [the passenger] could control the situation and handle the wheel was heroic," Montes said. "You don’t know who’s driving you; you've got to make sure you're in safe hands. Their responsibility is to get you where you need to safe.”
Chief Butcher says being aware is critical no matter who is driving, including family and friends. She also recommends everyone get basic CPR training.
“I know a lot of people worry thinking they have to put their mouth on someone," Butcher said. "There’s actually a form of compression-only CPR which will actually circulate oxygenated blood throughout someone’s body and increases their chance of survival.”
Another tip from Chief Butcher: try your best to provide every detail of information once first responders get to the scene. It helps EMS if the victim cannot talk so they can piece together what happened.