Rockwall County constable saves life of veteran in diabetic coma

A van driving dangerously down a grassy shoulder caught the attention of a Rockwall County constable. But instead of writing a ticket, the constable wound up saving a man's life.

The man behind the wheel turned out to be a Vietnam veteran and a diabetic who was blacking out. The constable who saw him turned out to be the right person at the right time with the right training to save the man and his dog.

Six days before Thanksgiving, Constable Randy Earl Parks was patrolling in rural Rockwall County when he spotted the van, with a driver inside he thought was impaired at first.

"I guess when I was hitting my siren up and down, it got his attention," said Parks.

Dash and body cameras were rolling as Parks approached.

"It was 11 o'clock in the morning, and I thought, ‘Surely nobody's been drinking this early,'" said Parks. "But you and I both know that they do."

Parks found the driver sweating profusely, drifting in an out of consciousness.

"And I could smell his breath and it smelled kind of sweet, so from my training I figured he might be a diabetic," said Parks.

"Are you a diabetic?" Parks says on the dash cam video to the driver, Jack Key.

"Yes sir," Key says.

"You are?" said Parks. "Did you take your medicine?"

Key, a partially disabled Vietnam veteran, was clearly in distress. Key couldn't tell Parks much, but he did call his service dog that was with him at the time, Tattoo, by name.

Minutes later, Rockwall Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Kindred arrived.

"Do you take medication or anything?" Kindred is heard asking Parks on dash cam video. "If you can tell the medics he's having some kind of diabetic episode."

"Hey Jack! How old are you?" Kindred asks Key.

"He's fixing to go out…you do it," Kindred says to Parks.

For several minutes, the two officers took turns massaging key's chest, trying to keep Key conscious until the ambulance could arrive.

Key says now that he remembers taking his insulin shot that morning and stopping at a fast food restaurant, but doesn't remember anything else until he was inside the ambulance, 13 miles away.

"I remember getting into emergency and I remember passing out again," said Key. "It's like my breath was just leaving me, and I guess that's when I flat lined again."

"A nurse and a doctor came out and said that they didn't think he was going to make it," said Parks.

But Key did. He has fully recovered and is still in awe of the sequence of events.

"The ambulance driver told me I had 10 minutes," said Key. "Ten minutes is all I had left, and if anything, any of that was off by 10 minutes, I wouldn't be here."

Key says the incident is the second miraculous recovery of his lifetime.

While serving in the Marine Corps, he suffered a wound so severe that he thought he would lose his right arm.

He still has problems with that, but he says he has his diabetes under much better control now.

Key believes he didn't mix his insulin correctly. He was told that his sugar level had dropped so low they couldn't measure it.

His pulse was 20 beats a second.


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