Nurse who revived toddler after fatal I-91 crash inspires CPR training

ROCKY HILL, Conn. — As Jasmin Flores worked to save the life of a toddler — one of three people thrown from a Jeep in a July wreck — there was no lack of good-intentioned bystanders who wanted to help.

But in the moments after the deadly crash, as the driver lay motionless in the middle of I-91, most were unable to even try to revive him because they didn’t know CPR, Flores said.

That’s what inspired Flores to hold a community training session in CPR at her alma mater, the University of St. Joseph.

Students and members of the public practiced CPR on dummies and learned proper technique. The mannequins were provided by Code One Training Solutions, a hands-only CPR training faction of the American Heart Association.

“I think CPR should be like a right of passage, something that you learn like you learn how to ride a bike,” Flores said. “Because, you don’t need anything but your hands and your good intentions to save somebody’s life. It’s that simple.”

On July 24, Flores, a psych nurse at Rockville General Hospital, was driving on I-91 south in Rocky Hill when she came upon an overturned Jeep, its backseat detached, and a child’s car seat rolling down the highway. An injured man was struggling to get to it; another man, the driver, lay on the pavement. . All three had been ejected.

“It was rolling far,” Flores said of the car seat. “It must have rolled for quite a while. I saw the guy desperately trying to chase after it. I saw it roll three times.”

Flores rushed to help.

Flores said she felt no pulse on the 2-year-old, who had been in the car seat. She proceeded to administer CPR.

“I literally felt his heart jump-start,” she said.

Other people gathered on the highway before medics arrived on the scene, but were unable to provide help because they did not know CPR, she said. After what felt like a lifetime later, two people who knew how to perform rescue breathing came forward to help and police and medics arrived.

The driver later was pronounced dead. The 2-year-old spent some time at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Hospital in Hartford before fully recovering.

Courant Staff Writer Christine Dempsey contributed to this story.

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