Pair helps save choking toddler

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico

CLOVIS — Eva Saiz’ attention was torn between two men Tuesday. Her finger tracing the ridges on Patrol Officer Mike Reeves’ silver and gold badge, she coyly looked up through thick eye lashes to issue a flirtatious, toothy smile at Tech. Sgt. Charles Derflinger.

The swift actions of Reeves and Derflinger, a Cannon Air Force Base firefighter, are being credited with helping save the 10-year-old Clovis toddler from choking on a hair barrette a day earlier.

Maybe it was fate, or as Reeves believes, something far stronger, but something brought the trio together at just the right time Monday afternoon.

“It was a divine intervention in this case, because I shouldn’t have even been there. God was the one that put me there and ultimately deserves the honor and the glory,” Reeves said.

Reeves left work at the police department early Monday and was on his way to a meeting at Plains Regional Medical Center, where he works part-time in the emergency room as a registered nurse.

Passing a convenience store at the corner of 14th and Prince streets, the father of four spotted a panicked woman pulling a baby from a car.

Eva Saiz’ airway was restricted as she gagged on a barrette, so Reeves applied chest compressions to the toddler while trying to clear her mouth.

Reeves said when Derflinger stopped to help, he instructed him to use the police radio to let dispatch know where they were.

Derflinger took it one step further and began relaying status reports on the child, saving critical time, Reeves said.

“He was able to relay some detailed medical information that allowed the paramedics to be prepared for immediate transport as soon as they got there,” Reeves said.

Derflinger’s wife, Jenni