A VAN driver who stopped breathing for SEVEN minutes after a heart attack was saved by a quick-thinking passer-by.
Jimmy Gray’s family today called Paul Ward, 47, a hero after he spotted the 43-year-old slumped in his vehicle on the A64 York Road during rush hour.
Realising it was a matter of life and death, Paul dragged father-of-four Jimmy from the van.
He flagged down another motorist and they gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and heart massage.
Project manager Paul also called paramedics who used a defibrillator on Jimmy, of Seacroft, in the middle of the road to re-start his heart.
He was taken to Leeds General Infirmary and put into an induced coma.
Jimmy’s daughter Vicky Gray, 20, told the YEP: “If Paul hadn’t have been there then dad would have died.
“People were just driving past him and probably thought he was drunk and asleep but he is the one that
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took the time to go and have a look.
“Words just can’t describe how thankful we are.
“We told him he is a bit of a hero, he is just brilliant.
“We also want to thank the other people that stopped and helped but we don’t know who they are.”
Paul, from Headingley, said: “I just thought something wasn’t right.
“I pulled my car over, opened the van door, shook his arm and shoulder but there was no response.
“I tried to flag down some traffic but no one would stop.
“I called 999 and they talked me through how to check his breathing but it had stopped so I had to get him out of the van.
“Another man stopped to help me drag Jimmy out on to the road and we worked together to give him 100 heart presses.
“He stopped breathing for about seven minutes and paramedics had to defibrillate him in the middle of the road.
“I was just at the right place at the right time and I’d like to think that I did what anyone else would have done.
“The difference in Jimmy is amazing. He went from being in a coma on Tuesday and is now sitting up and talking. It’s incredible.”
Brother Hugh Gray 51, of Armley, who met Paul face-to-face earlier this week, said: “The doctors told Jimmy he died at the scene.
“He said he really appreciates what Paul did, he did a great job. I bought him a bottle of whiskey to say thanks.
“If it wasn’t for Paul and the other people that helped, who knows what would have happened.”
Jimmy’s wife, Midi Gray , 43, said: “I want to say thanks to everyone who was there, including Tony Catherill and Rowena Brown who also stopped to help. We are so grateful.”
Jimmy has suffered four heart attacks in the past two years.
He is now off life support and out of intensive care but remains in hospital since last Tuesday’s drama.
Now the ex-fitter is waiting to have an IVD fitted within the fortnight.