It could have been a scene from a movie last Wednesday at the Jessamine County courthouse, circuit clerk Doug Fain said.
Local, ordinary citizens — a postman, an attorney and a radiology technician — selflessly came to the aid of a man they did not know and are possibly the reason he is still alive.
And Fain said he could not be more proud of those who live in the community.
“I whole-heartedly believe they saved his life,” he said.
It happened during the bi-monthly grand-jury indictment hearings when assistant commonwealth’s attorney Andy Sims collapsed in a suspected heart attack while presenting the final case of the day to the 12 jurors.
“The good Lord put the right people in the right place at the right time,” Fain said. “And we’re all tickled (Sims) is going to be OK.”
Sims, 36, is known around the clerk’s office for his good nature but also his good health, Fain said, which is why the incident was such a shock.
The grand jurors, whose names are kept from public record, told Fain they witnessed Sims clutching his head while presenting evidence of the last case before keeling over and falling to the floor.
One panic-stricken juror ran out of the courthouse screaming for help and ran into passing attorney David Thomas.
Thomas quickly rushed to Sims’ aid and began the resuscitation process.
Nurse BJ Preston, who happened to be walking across the street from the courthouse at the time, heard the jurors’ cries and leapt into action. Preston took off her heels and ran across Main Street, dodging late-morning traffic.
Not much further up Main Street, postman Shawn Baldwin saw the commotion, got out of his truck and headed to the fiscal-court room to investigate.
Fain said when he arrived on the scene, Thomas was giving Sims mouth-to-mouth, Preston was performing CPR and Baldwin was counting out the beats.
By this time, Sims was turning as blue as a postman’s shorts, Baldwin said.
“If anyone deserves to see the lights at the end of the tunnel, it’s him,” Baldwin said. “And I’m sure he was there.”
Fain agreed and said he thought the worst when he saw Sims’ lifeless body, even closing the doors of the fiscal-court room, almost positive he was dead.
Sims reportedly had no pulse when Preston arrived, but with feverish CPR, the group was able to resuscitate him long enough for Jessamine County emergency-response units and Nicholasville firefighters who arrived minutes later to began using a defibrillator.
“They really were there quick, but had it not been for BJ and Dave, then he might not have made it that long,” Fain said. “None of the other jurors had any sort of first-response training. It was rather traumatic for them, as well.”
Fain also said he was amazed by the jurors. When they were being escorted away from the scene to the second-floor courtroom, they stopped in the main hallway, gathered in a circle, and prayed for Sims.
Sims was transferred to Saint Joseph Hospital in Lexington where he received a pacemaker, Fain said. He was released Tuesday afternoon.
Officials from the Office of the Commonwealth Attorney said it was cardiac episode, not a heart attack, which may be related to an enlarged heart condition.
“He’ll be back in here joking in no time,” Fain said. “I’m sure of it.”
As for the grand jury, it reconvened last Friday and concluded the indictment process.