Traffic stop leads to lifesaving move by police officer

By Paul Merrill, General Assignment Reporter, pmerrill@hearst.com
Published On: Jul 29 2014 01:33:06 PM HST

Gavin "Scotty" Falconer was pulled over for speeding in Kennebunk on Saturday, but now he owes the officer his life. WMTW News 8's Paul Merrill has the exclusive interview.

KENNEBUNK, Maine -

A traffic stop in Kennebunk on Saturday turned into a lifesaving encounter.

After a Kennebunk police officer pulled Gavin Falconer, 84, over for speeding, Falconer slumped over in his vehicle. He wasn't breathing and had no pulse.

"I've been lucky all my life," said Falconer.

You don't often hear someone say he was lucky to be pulled over for speeding, but Falconer's weekend traffic stop may have just saved his life.

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The 84-year-old doesn't remember much after handing over his license and registration, but his wife told him he slumped over the wheel and the officer who had pulled him over sprung into action.

"He came running back and saw me there. He yanked me out of the car, ripped my beautiful pink shirt -- but that's all right, it was old anyway -- and I guess I was gone. No pulse. Nothing. And he started giving me CPR," said Falconer.

That CPR and the shock from a defibrillator brought Falconer back to life.

He woke up in the hospital where he is still nursing some pain.

"You ever watch those old cowboy movies and there's a brawl in the bar? I feel like I was the guy who was getting beaten up," he said.

His wife had a surprise for him after he regained consciousness in the hospital.

"She says, 'You got a ticket.' I says, 'No.' She said, ''Yeah. Yeah. It was a warning.' I said, 'Oh, that's all right. I can live with that,'" Falconer said.

Officer Matthew Harrington is the one who pulled Falconer over and likely saved his life.

"You know, we always say there's no such thing as a routine traffic stop, but, obviously, day after day, you stop cars. They do become fairly routine, so when you're thinking you're just going to give a guy a warning and -- next thing you know -- you're doing chest compression in the middle of rush-hour traffic. It's a little overwhelming," said Harrington.

Falconer hasn't seen Harrington since Saturday but said he is looking forward to meting him under difference circumstances.

"The first thing I want to say to him is:  'Thank you,'" said Falconer.

Harrington said he had already started to write up the warning before Falconer had the heart attack.

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