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Port police cadet recalls reviving car crash victim [Updated]

July 20, 2009 | 12:41 pm

Port cadet Los Angeles port officials had planned this morning to reunite a 20-year-old port police cadet with a teenager he revived after a car crash in Rancho Palos Verdes.

[Updated at 1:30 p.m.: A previous version of this post said the two had reunited, but officials later said the crash victim never showed up because he could not get a ride to the meeting.]

Frank Miramontes, who had been training for two years to become an officer for the L.A. Port Police, was headed out of his uncle’s house in Rancho Palos Verdes about 11 p.m. on July 7 when he heard a loud, hollow rolling sound from the next street.

He hurried over to find a Toyota Camry rolled on its side on a front lawn, and a teenager sprawled on the street with his body twisted up. The teenager, 18-year-old Shonte Webb, seemed groggy and complained about his neck. Soon after, his jaw dropped and he stopped breathing.

Miramontes, who had just completed his first-aid training in April, checked Webb's vital signs and felt nothing. He gave the unresponsive teenager two breaths and began pumping his chest. An intensive care nurse who happened to live next door had run out in her pajamas and guided him through the process.

Cars whizzed past just a few feet away, and neighbors walked out to watch.

“I clicked into that mode and that was it,” Miramontes said in a phone interview today. “I felt like I was on a dummy, I just snapped into the mode.”

When Miramontes was in the third set of chest compressions, Webb began coughing and his heart began racing. Miramontes and the nurse, Anne Kienberger, turned him over so he could perhaps throw up, but nothing came out. And then his heart stopped once more.

The cadet administered CPR for eight more minutes to revive Webb again before paramedics arrived and took him to a hospital.

Miramontes said he went home and went to bed but couldn't sleep, wondering what would become of the teenager.

"What if I didn’t do it right and he died?" he recalled thinking. "That’s somebody’s son, he has a mom somewhere."

But Webb had survived with no other major injures. He was discharged from the hospital within 48 hours.

“It was a life-changing experience,” Miramontes said. “In the profession I’m going into, they always say you revert back to your training in any incident. I learned young that that’s true.”

-- Victoria Kim

Photo: L.A. Port Police cadet Frank Miramontes. Credit: Port of Los Angeles