A Cambridge woman who almost died in June has reconnected with the ‘good Samaritan’ who saved her life, and the police constable who helped it happen.
The three women – Gaye Hutton, her *555 angel Jessica O’Hara, and Cambridge Police senior constable Casey Walker – reunited for the first time since the incident that almost claimed Gaye’s life.
On Monday June 29 Gaye woke up feeling dreadful and with a swollen face after days spent battling a tooth infection. She decided the best option would be to head for her workplace, a doctor’s surgery in Hamilton. “I thought if I could just get there, I’d be OK.”
Jessica pulled out behind Gaye on the outskirts of town. “She veered right off the road and on to the grass. There was obviously something wrong. I kept following her… she was going about 100kph in peak hour traffic, weaving all over the place.”
On the advice of her partner, she dialled her first *555 and then stayed on the line. The report tracks Gaye’s dangerous drive and Jessica’s obvious concern. Another driver also rang *555 after narrowly avoiding being hit.
Casey, who was tasked with stopping Gaye, finally caught up with her at Riverlea. “As soon as I stopped the vehicle, I could see she was seriously unwell.”
All Gaye remembers is the overwhelming relief at hearing the siren and seeing the police car lights behind her.
“I thought ‘thank God someone has come to save me’. She asked for my driver’s licence and my keys and called for an ambulance. The next thing I remember is waking up in hospital two days later.”
Gaye needed emergency surgery, but “between the x-rays and the ultrasound I apparently stopped breathing … they had to intubate me,” she said, pointing to scars on her throat.
“In the end I had two teeth removed and was told the sepsis was just 2cm away from my heart.”
When she finally woke up, Casey and her police partner visited to see how she was. Gaye spent 10 days in hospital and had to take a month off work.
Gaye’s good luck that day isn’t lost on her. “I don’t normally go to work on Mondays. If I had been at home, I would likely have died there.”
Casey said it was the first such incident for her in 15 years of police work. Her approach at the time, and in subsequent visits, has warmed Gaye’s heart. She has caught up with Casey on several occasions, and although she has seen Jessica in town and returned her cheery ‘hello, how are you’, Gaye had absolutely no idea who she was.
She asked Casey if she could meet her *555 angel – hence last week’s meeting over Christmas mince pies.
“She saved my life … I dread to think what would have happened if she hadn’t made that call,” said Gaye.