No breath and no pulse.
Tustin Police Officer Bonnie Breeze is positioned over the man who would tower over her 5-foot, 4-inch frame, if he were standing.
But he’s not standing. He’s lying in a ditch at a construction site.
Breeze has given CPR many times in her career — too many to recall — but it was always too late.
This time, though, there is hope.
Breeze vividly remembers the morning of Feb. 26 — partly because it was extremely busy at the Tustin PD, and partly because it was her sister’s birthday.
Mostly, though, the day stands out in her mind because of a unique jail transport that morning.
A call came in to report two suspicious men at Laurelwood Park.
When Breeze arrived, she recognized one of the men because she had arrested him before.
The 21-year-old man told her he’d been up for three days on a meth binge and that he had warrants out for his arrest.
There were, as he said, two felony warrants for criminal threats on the suspect, so Breeze took him into custody.
It was an easy arrest, she said.
After taking care of the paper work, Breeze was driving the suspect to Orange County’s Central Men’s Jail at about noon when she was flagged down by a worker at a construction site at Grand Avenue and First Street.
“Hey, I have a guy down here having a heart attack,” the worker told Breeze.
She drove her patrol car into the ditch where the man was slumped over.
He was not breathing and had no pulse.
Breeze told the suspect coming off meth to hold tight while she jumped out of the car to start CPR on the worker.
For four minutes, Breeze performed chest compressions.
She didn’t get fatigued, but it was hot out and concern mounted over the man on meth in the back of her patrol car.
“It was 90 degrees out so I asked a couple of the workers to stand by the car to make sure he didn’t pass out or start to hyperventilate,” she said.
The suspect wasn’t hyperventilating, instead he was encouraging Breeze and praying for the worker in the ditch.
“Oh God, please save him,” the suspect said.
Breeze was working on it.
Costa Mesa resident Daniel Kruse has very little memory of Feb. 26.
As a pipeline technician for the Southern California Gas Company, Kruse was overseeing a street renovation project at Grand Avenue and First Street.
A small trench needed to be dug to locate a gas line and run some electrical wiring along the pipe.
As an inspector, Kruse wouldn’t usually be the one to physically do the work, but the crew was busy and it didn’t seem an extensive project.
Kruse started digging. It wasn’t long before he was pouring sweat.
The last thing he remembers is turning to a co-worker to say, “I haven’t worked this hard in a long time.”
Kruse collapsed in the trench.
As Breeze continued her compressions, Kruse would cough and she would stop.
Then he’d stop breathing again, and Breeze would press on his chest some more.
“I knew there was a chance when he started coughing,” Breeze said. “I was talking to him and I felt like he heard me.
“He was trying to come back.”
By the time medics arrived and loaded Kruse into the ambulance, he was breathing and had a pulse.
By the time Kruse arrived at a local hospital, he was talking.
Kruse was recently given a clean bill of health from his doctors, and he learned his heart attack did not cause any permanent damage.
After the rescue, Breeze walked back to her patrol car and encountered a problem: she drove into the ditch at the construction site and was stuck.
There was an easy solution, though.
“All of the workers said, ‘We’ll get you out of here,’” Breeze said. “Then all of the guys got in front of the patrol car and lifted it out of the ditch.
“They were so proud when they got me out, high-fiving each other.”
Breeze went on about her shift, driving the suspect to Men’s Central Jail then returning to the department.
“I just carried on about my day,” she said.
That was Breeze’s first CPR save in the 13 years she has been with Tustin.
“It’s just an amazing feeling to have somebody come back to life in your own hands,” she said. “I’m still living off the high of it.”
On a recent Tuesday, Kruse stopped by the Tustin PD to meet Breeze.
“When I saw her, I wanted to run and hug her, but I didn’t know if that was OK,” Kruse said. “It was just a wonderful experience to see the person who saved your life.”
Kruse did hug her and he invited her over for dinner to meet his family.
Breeze visited the Kruse family home on Sunday, March 29 — Kruse’s 62nd birthday.
They ate barbecue chicken, sweet potatoes, salad and green beans.
The family enjoyed croissants and tiramisu, but Kruse skipped this part of the meal saying he’s watching his diet after his near-death experience.
Kruse toasted Breeze with apple cider to again thank her for her quick response that day.
He knows he is lucky, and he and his family are grateful.
“What do you do for the person who saved your life?” he said. “It was the greatest birthday ever; she gave me the best present. We have claimed Bonnie as part of our family.”