A ‘life-saving’ award for a sheriff’s sergeant for performing CPR on a collapsed convenience store customer misunderstood the story, a cashier who was there and others said.
For one, the customer never regained consciousness and died a few days later, said cashier Selena Sierra, 26, of Victoria.
On Friday, Sierra said the Kenneth A. Rosenquest Regional Public Safety Award given to Sgt. Steven Nelson of the Golden Crescent Regional Planning Commission in August omitted key details and failed to acknowledge that she was, in fact, the one who carried out the bulk of the rescue measures.
She said she was hurt that the price didn’t mention her.
Victoria County Sheriff Justin Marr said Monday he doesn’t dispute Sierra’s story, but said her story has no bearing on the award, which is reserved for law enforcement officers. Marr did not respond to questions about the differences between Sierra’s and Nelson’s versions of events, which contained details that did not agree.
The man died four days later in hospital, although the award Nelson, 35, from Cuero, received was given for saving the man’s life. Sierra had been in contact with the man’s family and learned that he had suffered a massive heart attack and a seizure at the store.
She performed life-saving CPR for about four minutes on the man before Nelson arrived. Nelson said he practiced CPR for about five minutes, but Sierra disputed that claim, saying Nelson only practiced about a minute.
Nelson, a patrol shift supervisor at the Victoria County Sheriff’s Office, was awarded because his “rescue efforts saved the citizen’s life.”
“The Citizen was later transported to DeTar Navarro and made a full recovery. Sgt. Nelson’s quick response and rescue efforts saved the Citizen’s life,” according to a spokesperson for the Golden Crescent Regional Planning Commission. .
But Sierra said the man never came to — he never reacted the whole time she and Nelson worked to save his life.
Additionally, Nelson previously said the man moaned after performing CPR on him. But Sierra said it was fake and the man never made a sound.
Marr and Chief Deputy Will Franklin did not dispute Sierra’s claims, but said that despite everything, Nelson resurrected the man so he could be taken to hospital. They said emergency medical services would not have transported the man to hospital without signs of life.
Nelson said on September 1 his corporal checked the man’s condition at the hospital the day after the incident and was told the man’s condition had changed from critical to stable.
Sierra said the man’s family told her his condition never improved.
The man entered the store to buy beer, Sierra said. She spoke to him briefly before he returned to the coolers. Sierra then heard a thud as the man collapsed. She performed CPR while another employee called for help.
“So I went to see him and he was on the ground, turning blue,” Sierra said. “My instinct was to make sure he didn’t choke. He was bleeding from the fall and turning purple. He was dying on the floor. I did CPR. I was out of breath. Then the officer came .I never left him.”
Franklin said the award Nelson received was for law enforcement officers and therefore Sierra could not be included in the honor. That’s not to say it didn’t help, he says.
“The award recognizes annually a peace officer or officers who have performed an act of heroism beyond their duty during the past GCRPC fiscal year,” the regional planning commission said in an email Wednesday. .
Sierra said the man was from Yorktown and was 56, but did not reveal his identity.
She received training in CPR through the Job Corps about 10 years ago while training to become a medical assistant.
In a statement on Wednesday, the planning commission said, “That day Sergeant Nelson responded to a 9-1-1 call from a convenience store at 5906 N. Navarro St. Sergeant Nelson arrived first. at the scene and was confronted by an unresponsive citizen, bluish color of skin. Sergeant Nelson quickly administered first aid and resuscitated the citizen before the arrival of the VPD or EMS. The citizen was then transported to DeTar Navarro and made a full recovery.Sergeant Nelson’s quick response and rescue efforts saved the citizen’s life.
Explaining the discrepancy, a spokesperson for the planning commission said on Monday: “The initial statement we received with the appointment of Sergeant Nelson indicated that he was able to bring the male subject back and that the EMS was able to transport him to DeTar, leading us to believe that the man’s life was saved.”
The planning commission, the spokesperson said, was never informed of the man’s death.
“There will be different ways of looking at things in each story,” Marr said. “I just don’t want to see this man’s death turn into a he said she said something.”
Nelson could not be reached for comment.