NORTH ALBANY-- A near-death experience has some law enforcement officers taking new safety measures. The Benton County Sheriffs Office and Salem Police Department are using medic kits once reserved for soldiers on the front lines of war.
A short car pursuit ended at Independence Hwy and Spring Hill Road in North Albany back on Aug. 11, 2012. The suspect, Demicio Jr. Cardenas, 32, ran into the brush. Salem K9 and the other officers surrounded him.
Cardenas then suddenly ran towards Benton County Sgt. David Peterson.
"I taze him and then he falls down and I see and hear the muzzle flash of the ‘pop, pop, pop,’" he said.
Sgt. Peterson was hit twice in the leg and once in the stomach, almost paralyzing him. He's alive today because of what happened next.
A Salem police officer responding that night happened to have a medic kit typically used by soldiers on the front lines of battle to quickly stop the bleeding. A powder was put in the wound and an extra-absorbent bandage was applied.
"Had those officers not given me first aid and the way they gave me first aid, I would absolutely be dead. And I lost so much blood on the operating table, I had to be revived," he added.
Thanks to various grants, every officer with Salem PD and Benton County now has these kits.
Peterson is back at work, albeit desk duty. Eight months of physical therapy have taught him to walk again, moving on from a night that so easily could have been his last.
The suspect, Cardenas, was recently sentenced to 20 years in prison for attempted aggravated murder and assault.