Monday night made one Poplar man a local hero after he saved the life of a man who had been stabbed.
Miguel Rios, a 29-year-old bus driver for Pleasant View Elementary School, never thought he’d have to rush to aid a stabbing victim, but thanks to his first aid training, his instincts took over and he knew exactly what to do to help the victim.
On Monday night, Rios was outside of his home in Poplar viewing a parade promoting a local board election, when he heard screaming coming from behind his house.
“I looked back and I could see a man falling on the asphalt,” said Rios. “I didn’t want to get involved because I didn’t know the situation or what happened, I didn’t want to put myself at risk. But I had a feeling that I had to go.”
Although he was hesitant, Rios began approaching the man. After walking roughly 20 yards toward the victim, Rios spotted blood on the asphalt. The closer he got to the man, the more blood he saw.
“By the time I saw his front porch and driveway to his house I saw a big puddle of blood so I started running to him,” said Rios. “His back was up against the bumper of a truck, but when I got to him he was falling down and convulsing already. My first reaction was to get him up to see what was going on, so I picked him up and asked him if he was OK. He started mumbling and lifted up his hand, his left hand, and I just saw blood gushing out from his arm. I thought he was going to bleed to death.”
Rios’ instincts kicked in, and he began removing the shoelaces from his boots to tie around the man's arm as a temporary tourniquet. Rios feared the man would lose consciousness and attempted to keep him awake by making conversation.
“I got my shoelace and just wrapped and twisted it around his arm and just held it there,” said Rios. “He kept going out, his eyes would roll back, and I just kept shouting for him to stay with me. I kept having a conversation with him so he wouldn’t go to sleep because his body was in shock.”
After nearly tending to the man for 10 minutes, the victim’s brother came out of the house to see what was happening. Rios told him he needed to call the ambulance immediately.
“I told him to call the ambulance because (the victim])had lost so much blood,” said Rios. “The Sheriff's showed up first, maybe 10 to 15 minutes later. The ambulance showed up in another 10 minutes, so I was there with him for at least 30 minutes.”
Now, after three nights have passed since the incident, Rios says he has trouble sleeping at night, but hopes it will pass with time.
“I can’t sleep at night. I think with time it will go away, but it was just a big shock,” said Rios. “I was in shock. I couldn’t speak and I was shaking. I started crying, I couldn’t put it all together. It happened so fast.”
Despite the sleepless nights, Rios says he was glad he was there to save the man’s life, and God must have put him in his way.
“I just feel glad,” said Rios. “God put me in his way. That day, me and my wife were supposed to go buy groceries, and I always go with her. I’m also never outside my house, but that day I happened to be outside. God just put me in his way that day, and I just thank God I had the opportunity to be there.”
Coworkers of Rios’ say he’s the town hero, and Pleasant View Elementary School staff even threw him a small party.
“We’re extremely proud,” said Richard Thornberry, Principal at Pleasant View Elementary School's PK-4 campus. “It’s like you know people have this innate ability to react in situations, but to find out that (Rios) was actually able to do that and respond to it, to be able to help another human being, he’s Poplar’s hero. We’re all extremely proud of him.”