Sheriff saves choking man at Chick-fil-A with Heimlich maneuver

- When food goes down the wrong way, it can turn deadly. But because of the efforts of a top cop on Wednesday, one man was saved.

It was pure luck that Louis Palacios happened to be eating lunch where Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls was. The sheriff said when the choking man stumbled toward him, he was startled at first. But then he realized that he had to act fast.

“It was like, minutes away that I wouldn’t even be here right now if it weren’t for Sheriff Nehls,” said Louis Palacios.

A quick lunch at the Chick-fil-A along Southwest Freeway in Rosenberg escalated into a gasping cry for help.

“It was a big piece of chicken that just went down my throat, and I knew once I swallowed it that I was going to be in trouble,” said Palacios.

Palacios had just taken a bite of his chicken sandwich, but that bite then became lodged in his airway.

“I tried to push my stomach above my belly button, but it just wasn’t coming out so I'm like ‘No.’ I was really starting to black out,” said Palacios.

He said that is when he ran over to Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls who happened to also be there, eating lunch.

“He was totally obstructed because he couldn’t cough. He couldn’t say anything, but his hand was over his neck,” said Sheriff Troy Nehls of Fort Bend County

The sheriff said he knew Palacios was choking, told him what he was about to do, and then administered the Heimlich.

“After three or four thrusts, he let the chicken go and it went all over the floor,” said Sheriff Nehls.

It may have been a mess, but it saved Palacios’ life, something for which he couldn't thank the Sheriff enough.

“I'm just thankful to be here right now,” said Palacios.

“You do hear of instances where some people, they lose their life as a result of not being able to clear their airway so I would encourage people to brush up a little bit on the Heimlich maneuver, so should this ever happen to you or anyone else, you know how to help save a life,” said Nehls.

Nehls announced Wednesday morning that he is considering a run for Congress, saying that he is forming an exploratory committee for the CD-22 position in 2018.

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