Dashcam video from a police cruiser in Santa Fe, New Mexico, captured the moment a quick-thinking sheriff's deputy saved a 1-year-old toddler's life.
Santa Fe Deputy Sheriff Patrick Ficke said he was driving north on Interstate 25 earlier this month when he noticed a black Ford Explorer driving erratically. After he commenced a routine traffic stop, he immediately noticed that something was wrong.
"Right as I stopped the vehicle, the driver — who is a father — jumped out, which is usually a red flag for law enforcement," Ficke recalled in a video.
The father had exited his vehicle in a panic and reported that his toddler was not breathing.
"He started pulling his baby out, [and] I could see the baby was stiff and purple," Ficke said. "So I immediately called for paramedics and an ambulance and ran up to the baby."
Within seconds, Ficke jumped out of his patrol vehicle and approached the father, who was now joined by the baby's mother. The deputy immediately sprang into action.
"I checked her airway. I could see she was choking on something," remembered Ficke, who at that point turned the child over and began performing the Heimlich maneuver on her.
Ficke allegedly continued to perform the Heimlich maneuver for 45 seconds to a minute — which likely felt like an eternity for the parents — before at last the culprit, a Cheeto, popped out.
Once the Cheeto came out, the toddler lost her purple color and began crying. Relief poured over those involved, and Ficke handed the child back to her parents. The child is now reportedly doing fine.
"Yeah, it was pretty scary for a bit," said Ficke. "You know, one thing with calls, you never want to see a child hurt."
The deputy said he was just lucky to be in the right place at the right time to help the child out.
In a Facebook post displaying the video, the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office invited members of the community to "view the video and witness the life-saving measures taken by this Santa Fe County Deputy Sheriff."
"Great work Deputy Ficke!" the post added. "We thank you for your public service and quick, professional actions."