“I Always Said When I Started this Career 28 Years Ago, … that if I Could Just Save One Life, I’ll be Doing My Job”

On 26 March 2013, Indiana State Police Sergeant Luke Nathalang was traveling west on I-70 turning onto I-65 South when he saw that traffic had stopped. He went onto I-65 and saw a minor two-vehicle crash. Sergeant Nathalang said, “I edged ahead to see what was going on, and I observed a semi against a wall there on the right shoulder.” By the semi was a van with a slumped-over driver: 48-year-old Ben Lindley. Sergeant Nathalang said, “I had to check for his vitals; check to see if he was breathing. If it was a medical condition or if he got knocked out during the collision.” Mr. Lindley had had a massive heart attack. Sergeant Nathalang said, “I extracted him from the van, got him out on the street, laid him out in front of the van and started CPR. He added, “He came to several times; and then he would go out; he would gasp for air and then I would stop the CPR, check his pulse, check to see if he was breathing and then he stopped.”  The truck driver, who was uninjured, helped by calling 911. Indianapolis Fire Department emergency medical personnel quickly arrived and relieved Sergeant Nathalang. Medics took the driver to Methodist Hospital. Sergeant Nathalang said, “We’re considered the first responder, so it’s mandatory for us to have first aid training.” Mr. Lindley said later, “They [Methodist Hospital physicians] said that I died, and they said you don’t get any more massive than that.” His fiancé, Joyce Hayes, said, “It’s [Mr. Lindley’s being alive] a huge miracle. It just puts things in perspective, I think. I mean, it makes you think about what’s important and what’s not.” In his 28 years of working for the Indiana State Police, this is the first time that Sergeant Nathalang has had to use CPR. He said, “I honestly believe that God put me in that location in that situation for a reason.” He added, “I always said when I started this career 28 years ago, … that if I could just save one life, I’ll be doing my job.” On 1 April 2013, shortly after he was interviewed about using CPR on Mr. Lindley, a woman flagged him down because her grandmother was on oxygen and was not able to breathe. Sergeant Nathalang saw that a valve on the woman’s oxygen tank was not working; he fixed the valve and the woman immediately felt better. The two women were able to continue their journey. An article in the Dubois County Free Press stated, “Sergeant Natalang’s actions are representative of the everyday work the men and women of the Indiana State Police perform daily to ensure the safety of the citizens and visitors to the State of Indiana.”

For More Information: Daniel Miller, “Trooper saves man from heart attack.” WISH-TV (Indianapolis, Indiana). 1 April 2013; updated 2 April 2013


Also: Emily Longnecker, “Trooper saves driver’s life after heart attack, crash.” WTHR (Indianapolis, Indiana). 1 April 2013


Also: “Right place at right time twice, trooper saves two lives.” Dubois County Free Press (Indiana). 2 April 2013


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