Dale City grandson makes the right call

Jimmy Puckett said he felt like crying when his grandfather, Dan Sauveur, passed out while the two were on their way to Lake Ridge Middle School on Jan. 7 at about 7:30 a.m.

Sauveur, 79, was driving 12-year-old Jimmy to school as he does every morning when Jimmy said he noticed his grandfather’s driving was becoming erratic.

He was weaving on the road and bumping into the curbs, Jimmy said.

Sauveur, who has had some recent surgery and medical problems, said he began to feel strange as he turned from Darbydale Drive onto Minnieville Road, on their way to Lake Ridge from their home on Evergreen Drive in Dale City.

Jimmy said that’s when his grandfather passed out.

“When I saw his head droop down, I got out and started calling for help,” Jimmy said.

Jimmy, who has recently gotten involved in watching soap operas with his mother, Jackie Puckett, said he decided to emulate his favorite soap heroes to overcome his initial indecision and fear.

He decided to take action and run for assistance rather that sit and do nothing.

“I just had to go and get help,” the sixth grader said.

Jimmy jumped from his grandfather’s car and called for help.

A woman who was passing by with an armload of groceries dropped them and came to aid Jimmy and his grandfather.

Jimmy told the woman to stay with his grandfather while he ran across three lanes of morning rush hour traffic to a gas station to call his mother’s cell phone.

While Jimmy was on the phone with his mother, the woman who stayed with his grandfather dialed 911.

Jackie Puckett was stuck in morning traffic on Interstate 95, so she couldn’t do anything. After a brief moment of panic, she called her fiance, Ron Walker, who works in Woodbridge.

Walker got to the scene within 10 minutes of receiving the call.

By then, the paramedics had arrived and Sauveur had regained consciousness, Jimmy said.

Sauveur said that’s when he learned what had happened.

“What he did … the average adult couldn’t or wouldn’t do. We were in rush hour traffic at 7:30 in the morning. He’s my hero,” Sauveur said.

“He was so calm,” Jackie said. “I don’t know how he did it.”

Doctors determined that Sauveur, a retired automotive service manager, has heart trouble and needs a pacemaker.

Sauveur said he won’t be driving until his new pacemaker is installed.

Staff writer Keith Walker can be reached at (703) 878-8063.

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