Local coach, bystanders aided bicyclist in cardiac arrest

Martinez man recovering at home after collapsing

The high school softball coach drove down Foothill Road in Pleasanton, thinking how she should have taken a more direct route to the interstate. Instead, her detour put her smack-dab in the middle of a medical emergency that, thanks to her and a legion of responders, stopped short of a tragedy.

Pleasanton resident Teri Johnson was on the way to a friend's wedding around 10 a.m. on Oct. 16 when she saw a bicyclist laying motionless in the middle of Foothill Road near Foothill High. Johnson stopped her car and rushed to help while another onlooker called 9-1-1.

She knelt down by Jon Crone, a 47-year-old married father of two, who was unconscious due to sudden cardiac arrest.

Crone, of Martinez, had used this particular Friday to squeeze in a solid bicycle ride -- 30 miles to 50 miles -- at a time when duties and chores could wait just a little longer. He had biked to his office in San Ramon to pick up a few items, rode down to Kilkare Woods in Sunol and was headed home when a heart attack took hold.

Johnson, a varsity softball coach at Union City's James Logan High, moved Crone's bike aside and started to perform CPR. Her training had come in handy twice before, she recalled -- once when one of her students' parents collapsed at a softball game, and once in Mexico when she saved a drowning swimmer.

Between compressions, she said, she shouted orders at Crone.

"Doing this to him, I was kind of in a coaching mode. I was, 'Come on you're not going to die. Come on, you can do this. Stay with me,'" Johnson said. She saw his "in case of emergency" bracelet with his wife's name, Lisa. "Stay with me; you have a wife."

She said she'd done four rounds of compressions when Pleasanton police officer Travis Oliver arrived with a defibrillator. Oliver gave Crone a shock with the machine and then resumed CPR compressions while another bystander used a breathing mask to keep air in Crone's lungs.

Oliver said another bystander directed traffic away from the site, another called Crone's wife and others waited for instructions.

"Everybody there who was outside of their cars was actively playing a part in trying to save this guy's life," he said.

Oliver kept up compressions, but he hadn't found a pulse yet. Then, Crone started breathing again, and soon after an ambulance arrived to take him to Stanford Health Care-ValleyCare.

Once Crone was on the way to the hospital, Johnson headed off to her friend's wedding, but said something felt incomplete. Was he OK? Did it work?

The next morning, Johnson went to Stanford Health Care-ValleyCare in Pleasanton. She found herself outside his room, waiting.

"The nurses told me she was there and asked if I wanted to meet her," Jon's wife, Lisa Crone, said. "I went out and just hugged her and started crying and saying, 'You're an angel.'"

"I cried and she cried," Johnson said. The nurses cried. "It was unbelievable emotion. It was so emotional you didn't really realize it until I got there."

Crone said he is doing well and is recovering at home. He said he doesn't remember collapsing on the road, but it feels "unbelievable" that help arrived at the right time.

"Thinking about stuff like that is overwhelming," Crone said. "I don't think of stuff like this, especially since I didn't have any problems prior to this or warnings."

Oliver said CPR training is an essential tool any person can learn, and knowing how to respond to an emergency is an invaluable resource.

"It does take quick thinking in action to be able to do accurately," he said.

Oliver said he was relieved that so many residents stepped forward and were "actively willing to help a stranger save his life."

"People were trying to do what they could do to help," he said.

Lisa Crone said her husband's heart attack was caused by blocked arteries and a clot in his heart, but there is a "good diagnosis for the future."

"Everything seems like it's going to be moving on and getting better," she said.

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4 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 11, 2015 at 9:41 am

Teri - thank you for looking out for others. You are skilled and brave.

5 people like this
Posted by Joe Farrell
a resident of Danville
on Nov 11, 2015 at 9:52 am

As a survivor of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) this story brings tremendous joy to me! The rescuers description of the incident brought back memories of when I also saved a man's life on a golf course one year prior to my survival. As a member of the SRFPD HeartSafe Committee, our group is dedicated to teaching CPR to as many citizens as possible to save lives in our Valley and to give victims of SCA a 2-3x greater chance of survival if CPR is administered rapidly and an AED employed. To all citizens; PLEASE take the time to learn CPR and keep in mind "hands only CPR" is a life saver even when you do not ventilate (breathe for the victim). Step up to learn this very important life saving skill. Let's keep our witnessed SCA survival rate in the SRFPD very high (80% in 2014); which is one of the highest in the USA. Thank you!

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