WKUPD officer saves student from choking

Spencer Jenkins

During a dinner date between two WKU students at Cabrera’s Mexican Restaurant Bar N Grill on Jan. 18, Hendersonville, Tenn., freshman Desiree Moss began choking, but a WKU police officer intervened and saved her life.

“I literally thought I was dying,” Moss  said. “I couldn’t breathe, I didn’t know what to do.”

Moss’ boyfriend, Virginia Beach, Va., sophomore Jesse Arney tried helping her, he said.

“I jumped up and asked if she could breathe and got no response,” he said. “It was a chimichanga of all things.

“She had all four wisdom teeth taken out earlier in the week, and this was the first time I’d taken her out since she had the surgery.”

Moss said she was scared because Arney didn’t know what to do. She also didn’t chew up her chicken enough, which led Moss to drink water, making the situation worse.

Arney noticed two WKU police officers sitting nearby, Cpl. Ben Craig and Officer Danny Wilson and asked for help in saving his girlfriend of four months.

Wilson administered the Heimlich maneuver, Arney said. With a few thrusts, the food spilled out of Moss’ mouth.

Wilson noticed Moss acting strange before he saw Arney smack her on the back, and then Wilson knew she was choking, he said.

“She tried to mumble something out of her mouth, and I could tell she was choking,” Wilson said.

Craig called emergency medical services confirming Moss’ condition was stable, Wilson said.

Moss said if Wilson hadn’t been there, she doesn’t know what she would have done.

“I feel like God sent me a guardian angel,” she said. “He’s literally my savior.”

Arney said the potential death of Moss scared him, but Wilson’s survival skills saved her.

Arney said he’s grateful for the police officer’s actions.

“I shook his hand multiple times,” he said. “They were very cooperative and very helpful — nothing but good things to say about them.”

Wilson is fresh out of the police academy and began his training with WKUPD on Dec. 5, said Mandi Johnson, public information officer for WKUPD.

Wilson said he’s just glad he was there to help her.

“We become officers to help people,” he said.

Wilson will get the Distinguished Life-Saving Medal, Johnson said. Anybody that’s done something to preserve life receives the medal.

A formal ceremony for Wilson’s actions will occur at a later date, Johnson said. All the officers will come together, and Chief Robert Deane will give Wilson a certificate and a medal.

Wilson said he doesn’t do his job to get awards.

“My award was seeing she was all right,” he said.

Moss said she doesn’t plan on avoiding the restaurant, because it’s her favorite.