AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — Aug. 22 is a day that lives vividly in Ladonya Williams’ mind.
“I think that me and my dad were both sitting there in that moment thinking that the car was going to crash into us.”
While she and her father were spared, Akron police say a woman crashed into a car in front of them at Vern Odom Boulevard and Raymond Street while trying to get to the hospital.
While Ladonya’s father, an Akron detective who was off-duty, called 911, she had already jumped out of the car.
“The woman was screaming and that’s what made me get out of the car. I just got out and was running toward her. Her head was bleeding,” Ladonya said.
Ladonya says the baby wasn’t breathing.
“As soon as the woman said that her baby was choking, I knew that I knew what to do,” she said.
Thanks to CPR training she had two years ago, Ladonya was able to get the baby breathing again.
“I knew the baby was getting a little bit of air and I knew that the ambulance was coming and we were so close to the hospital so I flipped the baby over and I put my ear up against his chest just to make sure he was breathing and he was, so then I just held him on my chest and I just held his mother’s hand and we waited for the ambulance to come,” Ladonya said.
Her father, Det. Donny Williams, says he was in awe of how calm his daughter was.
“Everyone there is in panic mode, including me, and I’m a trained professional. I do this every day, I see it all the time, but to see someone perform like that, especially my daughter under that type of pressure at such a horrific scene, it was just amazing,” he said.
On Wednesday, surrounded by family and friends, Ladonya was recognized by the department for her heroic efforts.
Chief Stephen Mylett says officers can’t be everywhere all the time and so when citizens take the initiative to safely help out at a situation, it can mean the difference between life and death.
“This is a phenomenal example of when somebody is called do something, called upon to do something, and they don’t hesitate and react,” Mylett said.
Ladonya, who is a professional model, was supposed to be in Chicago but canceled last minute. It was a decision that saved that 7-month-old baby’s life.
“I was able to do something great and I knew like in that moment that it was destined for me to be there,” she said.
Ladonya says she is encouraging her friends and everyone to learn CPR to help protect their community.