Teen praised for his efforts to save a life

Ronald LaRue recounts the morning he preformed CPR on a woman after he found her lying unconscious on the ground while he was on his way to the school bus stop on May 9. The Palisade High School student called 911 and then performed chest compressions on the woman as directed by the dispatcher until a Mesa County Sheriff’s Department deputy and a Clifton firefighter arrived on the scene.

For all 16-year-old Ronald LaRue did on May 9 in what started as a routine walk to his bus stop in Clifton on the way to school, authorities praise him for what he didn’t do.

He didn’t walk away from the situation.

This, at the sight of a 47-year-old woman who was face down in her front yard, unresponsive.

“It’s just the right thing to do,” said LaRue, a Palisade High School student who jumped into action, performing CPR while guiding authorities to the scene of the medical distress call in the 3200 block of East Hall Court.

“It’s pretty remarkable for a kid his age and something I think most adults frankly wouldn’t do,” said Heather Benjamin, spokeswoman for the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department.

LaRue performed CPR for what he estimated to be period of 10 minutes before deputies and emergency responders arrived and took over.

“I just thought to myself, ‘I’m a sophomore in high school, I don’t know how to do this,” he said. “I think I got training in seventh grade or something, but I wasn’t paying attention.”

Setting his phone on speaker and putting it on the ground, LaRue was guided through the process of chest compressions and tipping the woman’s body to one side to try to clear fluid obstructions, among other steps.

Roughly two hours later, LaRue learned from a school counselor the woman had died at a local hospital.

While LaRue said he didn’t know the woman, he had been friends for a period of time with her son. They eventually parted ways.

LaRue’s not sold on suggestions of being a hero, although the concept is growing on him.

“The more I hear it, the more I believe it,” he said, laughing.


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