WASHINGTON — Strangers who came together to help a driver having a heart attack in rush-hour traffic last month got together again Tuesday to meet her.
Angelia Boddie, a 20-year veteran of the D.C. Fire and EMS Department, thanked God for putting in place the six people who helped her — an unlikely group that included two medical students, an accountant and a D.C. advisory neighborhood commissioner.
“Total strangers who pretty much recognized there was an emergency and they acted,” Boddie said.
Boddie was driving her Fire Department-issued car on Pennsylvania Avenue near Washington Circle in Northwest when she lost consciousness. Her car rolled into a van.
Sequaan Bussie of D.C. noticed Boddie leaned over and foaming at the mouth, called 911 and pulled her out of the car with the assistance of his friend Bernard Hill, who couldn’t attend Tuesday’s ceremony. Also responding was the commissioner, Chander Jayaraman, and medical student Brandon Glousman.
They pulled her from the vehicle and stopped traffic, then tried to revive her after determining she had no pulse.
Tyler Kingdon, a fourth-year medical student at Georgetown University, described hearing people shout for anyone who knows CPR as he passed by on his bicycle.
“It was serendipitous,” Tyler said. “I got ACLS [advanced care life support] certified the day before all this happened.”
And Enrique Gutierrez, of Alexandria, Virginia, brought an automated external defibrillator from the nearby Embassy of Spain, where he is an accountant. As he was preparing to use it on Boddie, first responders arrived.
At a news conference Tuesday, D.C.’s fire chief praised the city’s program of offering free CPR classes to citizens and gave everyone involved a “Save Coin.” The head of The George Washington University Hospital’s emergency department stressed the importance of recognizing there’s a problem, reacting immediately to help and calling for professionals.
After the ceremony, Boddie huddled with the bystanders who came to her aid, discussing everything that transpired.
Boddie said she also is grateful to Fire Department co-workers who responded to the scene, and to the doctors and nurses at GWU Hospital, where she was treated.
“Thank you, and I thank God for giving me another chance at life,” Boddie said to raucous applause.