On July 27, Jerald Kloppenborg and his wife were in their truck headed home to Nebraska. Kloppenborg knew he had a wheel seal leaking, but he was sure he could make it the 250 miles back home to fix it. “We were on I-380 between Waterloo and Cedar Rapids,” Kloppenborg said, “The weigh station was open, so we pulled in.”
Motor Vehicle Enforcement Sergeant Jeff Jones was the officer on duty at the scale that day. In his report of the Kloppenborg vehicle inspection, Jones noted eight violations, including the seal leak, and issued two citations. “It was a fairly standard inspection,” said Jones. “I explained how to satisfy the citations and printed off a list of area mechanics for him. I also told him that I would probably look at one or two more trucks before leaving and that he could find me if he needed anything.”
Jones continued his work, completing another full inspection. He said, “I remember seeing Kloppenborg outside his truck during my final inspection, but didn't pay very close attention as to what he was doing. About 4 p.m., I changed uniforms and had started carrying things to my car getting ready to close the scale. As I was walking to my patrol vehicle, Mrs. Kloppenborg came running around the corner saying she needed help. Her husband told her he was going to pass out and did. Now she couldn't wake him.”
If you’ve never been on this stretch on I-380, the weigh scale is near the small town of Brandon. Waterloo is 25 miles northwest and Cedar Rapids is about 30 miles southeast. Because of the distance to a hospital, Jones knew he had to act fast. I went into the scale, requested an ambulance, and grabbed the AED,” said Jones.
In his incident report, Jones wrote, “At the truck, Kloppenborg was sitting in the driver seat, head forward and his face was blue. I first was going to attempt to get him into the parking lot and quickly decided I couldn't do it safely. I asked his wife to assist me in getting him onto the floor in the sleeper. I opened his shirt, applied the AED pads, and activated the machine. The AED advised shock, I checked for all clear. The AED administered a shock and advised to continue CPR. I began chest compressions for several minutes. A few times, the AED said shock not advised, continue CPR, which I did. One other time it advised shock, I hit the button and it administered a shock.”
While he was continuing CPR, Jones was able to call for assistance from other motor vehicle enforcement officers. Officer Paul Strecker arrived first, followed by Officer Randy Moore. Jones and Strecker, assisted by a first responder, were able to get Kloppenborg out of the truck on to the parking lot.
The rescue team requested a helicopter, but they were told the helicopter couldn’t be used due to weather. Jones said, “We worked on him for several more minutes until the ambulance arrived and transported him to Covenant Hospital in Waterloo.”
This was only the second time Jones, a 15-year Motor Vehicle Enforcement veteran and former Waverly police officer, has administered CPR. It was the first time he had used an AED in an emergency situation. He said. “In addition to attending to Mr. Kloppenborg, I was trying to keep his wife calm. Working in this type of situation is where our training really kicks in.”
After a quadruple bypass and 13 days in the hospital, Kloppenborg is recovering at home. He said, “I remember pulling over into the scale, but that’s the last thing I remember. My wife and Sergeant Jones filled me in on the details.”
Jones said, “The AED was fantastic. I don’t think he would have made it without that machine.”
Jones may credit the AED; however, his quick thinking, training, and dedication are why Kloppenborg is recovering from what could have been a life-ending heart attack.