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Morgan Lyons
or Robin Stringfellow

February 3, 1998

"It was just something we had to do."

DART HOV operator breathes life into child

Roland Solis figured his job as a high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane operator would be more exciting than working in the DART mail room. But he never thought it would be a matter of life or death.

While patrolling the LBJ HOV lane early in the afternoon on January 20, Solis and his partner, Henry Valdez, came upon a parked minivan and stopped to investigate. "There was a woman standing outside of the minivan and a child laying on the ground," Solis said. Three year-old Gerald Nwaokolo was having a seizure caused by a very high fever. While Valdez directed traffic around them, Solis checked the boy's vital signs.

No pulse. He wasn't breathing.

The 30-year-old Solis remembered his CPR training from high school and went to work. Three deep rescue breaths revived the child, but then he stopped breathing again. Solis revived him again and again. "I did CPR three times," he said.

By then, paramedics had arrived. They told Solis he saved the boy's life. Dr. Robert Wiebe, chief of emergency medicine at Children's Medical Center of Dallas, said the quick action by Solis and Valdez made a difference.

"Seizures caused by a high fever can be very frightening to the parent. It's important to get things under control. They did a great job of reassuring Gerald's mother and getting him to the hospital quickly."

Koorosh Olyai, head of DART's HOV program, isn't surprised at Solis' performance. "Every member of our HOV crew is first-rate. They do countless things daily to help commuters use the HOV lanes safely. We're very proud of Roland."

Solis is matter-of-fact as he reflects on his heroism. "I can't describe the feeling I had when I first saw the little boy not breathing ... then he began to breathe again. That was reward enough."

 

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