3 Inmates Outside Prison Walls Save Life Of Supervising Officer Suffering A Stroke

"There were so many other options they could have taken," noted law enforcement in Bladen County, North Carolina.

January 04, 2019

Roy William Smith, Rosendo Morales-Sanchez, and Franklin Edens Jr. [CBS17/screenshot]

Roy William Smith, Rosendo Morales-Sanchez, and Franklin Edens Jr. [CBS17/screenshot]

By: Aaron Rasmussen

BLADEN COUNTY, NC — Law-enforcement officials are hailing three jail inmates as unlikely heroes for coming to the rescue of their roadside supervisor after he suffered a medical emergency.

On January 2, three prisoners serving time for misdemeanors — Roy William Smith, Rosendo Morales-Sanchez, and Franklin Edens Jr. — were picking up trash along Peanut Road in Elizabethtown as part of a program to reduce their sentences when the officer supervising the men, James Smith, suddenly fell ill and passed out.

“I looked back. He was kind of stumbling in the ditch, like he was losing his balance," said Edens. “And from there, he stumbled, fell over into the ditch.”

The inmates rushed to help, but Officer Smith was having problems responding to their questions, so Edens grabbed the supervisor’s phone and called 911.

“If that was my father laying beside the road, I would want somebody to help him instead of running off," said inmate Smith, calling the supervisor “just a really good guy all the way around.”

Doctors later determined Officer Smith had a stroke, and he is currently recuperating in the intensive care unit at Duke University Hospital in Durham.

“At the end of the day, knowing he is okay, that makes you feel better," said Edens.

On January 3, the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office honored the three inmates with a Life Saving Award.

“We would like for our citizens to please keep Mr. Smith in your prayers for a speedy recovery,” the Sheriff’s Office wrote in a message on Facebook. “We would also like to thank the three inmates for standing by with Mr. Smith when there were so many other options they could have taken.”

Bladen County Sheriff Jim McVicker noted: “It goes to show, if you treat people right, they’ll return the favor and treat you right, and that’s exactly what they’ve done here.”

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