'I feel like God used me as a vessel'; Danville police officer saves baby

DANVILLE, VA (WDBJ7)- When two-week-old Lucas Barreiro started choking at Nikki's Restaurant in Danville, police officer Melissa Carey jumped into action to save his life.

Photo courtesy Danville PD

Nikki's Restaurant is typically busy during lunch, but when waitress Sally Scearce saw a family start to panic with their choking baby, she instantly called on one of her favorite customers.

'I yelled, 'Melissa', that's all I could say." said Scearce.

Officer Carey was there on her lunch break; as soon as she heard her name called, she responded.

"I got up and ran to the other side of the wall, and Ms. Atwell was there holding the baby Lucas, I took Lucas from her," said Carey.

Carey says the room was packed and people gathered around her and the baby, but she could only hear one thing.

"The only thing I could hear was a woman's voice who was praying in the background and I knew at that point God had put me there at the right place and right time" said Carey.

Surveillance video shows Carey delivering back blows. After several attempts, Lucas spat up and started breathing.

Marilou Atwell, Lucas' great-grandmother, says those moments were the scariest ones of her life.

"I don't think it hit me until afterwards when he started breathing again, I can't describe how scary it was." said Atwell.

Atwell says her family can not thank Carey enough for keeping their baby alive.

Officer Carey says she's just happy to be in the right place at the right time.

"I makes me very happy and I feel like God used me as a vessel to be there and save this baby." said Carey.

Lucas is doing fine and is still in a hospital for tests.

The Mayo Clinic has a detailed description of techniques to use to clear the airway of a choking infant who is 1 year or younger.

Editor’s Note: In a previous version of this story, WDBJ7 reported officer Carey performed the Heimlich maneuver on the baby, based on information provided at the time. This story has since been updated to reflect that Carey delivered back blows to save the infant.

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