Woman suffers heart attack on I-29. Deputy & others work to save her life


April 25th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A Missouri Valley woman suffering from a heart condition this morning on Interstate 29 in Pottawattamie County received help from several sources, include a Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Deputy. Sheriff Jeff Danker says the incident began at around 6:15-a.m., north of the Honey Creek exit.

Danker says woman was driving south on I-29 with her husband in the passenger seat, when the driver had a heart problem and collapsed at the wheel. Her husband was able to get the vehicle stopped, and removed her from the vehicle. After other motorists stopped to offer assistance, a sheriff’s deputy was sent to the scene.

When Sgt. Jim Harvey arrived at the scene, Danker says used his Automatic External Defibrillator to try and save the woman, who was identified as 54-year old Karen Lenz.

He says Lenz shocked the woman three times and stayed on location until paramedics arrived. Lenz was eventually flown by LifeNet helicopter to the University of Nebraska Medical Center at Omaha.

A report on Lenz’ condition is not currently available. Danker says she and her husband Thomas were on their way to work when the incident occurred.

The Sheriff says AED’s are carried in all of his department’s vehicles, in hopes lives can be saved. He says they’ve had them in those vehicles for at least three-years. He says it’s not something that’s used on an everyday basis, but often times his deputies are the first on the scene, and using the devices can make a difference in keeping someone alive until trained medical personnel can render aid.

Danker says he’s not sure how many times the AED’s have been used, but the incident today (Monday) wasn’t the first time, and it likely won‘t be the last.