Feb 12, 2015

Detention deputies provide CPR to inmate, save his life

Two Park County Sheriff’s detention deputies recently performed life-saving cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on an inmate at the Park County Detention Facility.

Sgt. Rob Cooke and Deputy Joe Colegrove
On Jan. 17, around 10 p.m., Sgt. Joe Colegrove and Deputy Rob Cooke were alerted by inmates in a communal area of the jail that a fellow inmate was having a seizure. Colegrove and Cooke found Roy Epperle, 51, slumped over in a chair and being propped up by fellow inmates.

The two deputies immediately placed Epperle on the floor and propped his head with a blanket. They checked for a pulse several times, but couldn't find one.

The Missoula, Mont., man was unresponsive; his face was turning purple and his breathing was labored.  Eventually, Epperle let out a long breath and then stopped breathing entirely.

Cooke immediately summoned an ambulance from West Park Hospital while Sgt. Colegrove began CPR on the victim. After 30 chest compressions, Epperle began to breath and regained consciousness. After several minutes, he became coherent enough to respond to deputies’ questions.

Deputies also began supplemental first aid measures which included monitoring Epperle’s pulse, oxygen levels and blood pressure.

He was eventually transported to West Park Hospital and then to St. Vincent Hospital in Billings, where he underwent surgery to have a pacemaker implanted.

Sheriff Scott Steward praised the immediate actions of his staff.

“Detention deputies take great pride in their responsibilities which include the care and well-being of the inmates,” Steward said. “I can’t say enough about their response in this situation. Their quick thinking and immediate actions no doubt saved the life of an inmate under their care.”

Multiple members of Epperle's family took to the sheriff's Facebook page to express thanks.

"Contrary to what is currently in the news you are the 'Good Guys,'" wrote the man's brother.

Epperle was able to appear in District Court on Jan. 26, where he received 18 to 24 months of prison time on two felony counts of delivering a controlled substance (the painkiller oxycodone).

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