Centerville, IL — On Thursday, Darius Hinkle's one-year-old daughter—like so many other children do every year—grabbed a penny and put it in her mouth. While most parents are able to remove the loose change from their child's mouth before anything bad happens, Hinkle was unable to do so and his daughter started to choke. His first reaction was to get her to the hospital as soon as possible.
Hinkle—like so many other folks who cannot afford to pay exorbitant fines that target the poor—did not have a valid driver's license when he got in the car to drive his daughter to the hospital. However, no one in their right mind would sit by and let their daughter choke to death because their driver's license is invalid. So, Hinkle made the split second decision to break the law and drive his daughter to the hospital anyway.
"The first thing in my mind was to get her to the hospital," Hinkle said.
Because time was of the utmost importance, Hinkle exceeded the speed limit to get his daughter to the hospital as soon as possible. Naturally, he was quickly targeted for revenue collection by police.
Not caring about the fact that police were targeting him for revenue collection, and only caring about his daughter's life, Hinkle did not stop for the cops. So, more and more cops started in on the chase.
According to Hinkle, by the time he got to the hospital, more than a handful of police officers from multiple agencies were behind him. When Hinkle and his wife Donecia Pittman finally arrived at the hospital, they were told to put their hands in the air as cops held them at gunpoint.
"I just told them that our daughter is choking," Pittman said. But she says cops were only concerned with arresting Hinkle.
Luckily, Hinkle and Pittman were able to get their daughter the help she needed, but not before cops took Hinkle to jail.
After their daughter's life was saved, Pittman went to the jail to bail out her husband and found that someone else was already there to do just that. Pittman ran into a woman who she had never seen before who just so happened to be bailing out her husband. This woman was a nurse from the hospital.
"She said 'I'm the nurse from Touchette hospital,'" Pittman said. According to couple, the group of nurses took up a collection and then went down to the jail to bail this dad out—a truly inspiring notion indeed.
"I can't thank them enough," Hinkle said.
While Hinkle's story has a silver lining to it, others who have rushed their loved ones to the hospital and ran into police along the way have not been so lucky.
Two quick examples that show the power of police discretion when rushing injured or dying people to the hospital can be seen below.
In 2014, dashcam video captured the disturbing last moments of a man's life as he's detained by a Chippewa Falls police officer on the way to the hospital.
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29-year-old Casey Kressin died after suffering a severe asthma attack when the vehicle that was rushing him to the hospital was pulled over by a Chippewa Falls police officer.
After they were stopped, Kressin’s girlfriend immediately starts to beg the officer to take him to the hospital. The officer instead calls for an ambulance.
The couple was just 3 miles from the hospital when they were stopped. It took over 6 minutes for the ambulance to arrive. The time added to the stop by the officer was too much and Kressin died on the side of the road because the officer failed to use his discretion and escort them to the hospital.
However, here's what happens when officers use their discretion, they're hailed as heroes, and rightfully so.
Also, in 2014, Helen "Skeeter" Smith found out her son was gravely ill and in the hospital.
The 87-year-old jumped into her car in southern Nevada and began her 350 mile, high-speed drive up I-15. Not long into her drive, she "buzzed past" a Utah Trooper who immediately pulled her over.
When Helen told the trooper what her situation was, she was then let on her way. However, that was only the beginning.
When Helen went to leave, she accidentally put the car in reverse instead of drive, sending her car slamming into the state trooper's car behind her.
That's when something completely out of the ordinary happened - instead of being cited, or otherwise detained, Trooper Jeff Jones began what would be a chain reaction of heroism. He actually gave her a ride from Fillmore to Juab County.
Once the pair made it to Juab, Smith was handed off to Trooper Chris Bishop, who drove her to Salt Lake County.
There, she was given to Andrew Pollard in Draper, who drove Smith all the way to Ogden Regional Medical Center.
"I ended up taking four patrol cars," said Smith. "Four good-lookin' patrol boys brought me."
Because multiple cops all chose to use their discretion and chose to help—instead of extort—Smith finally made it to the hospital room to see her dying son.
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