League City police chief reunites with man he saved this spring

Chief Ratliff says he still keeps in touch with the man he saved following their reunion this May. (Courtesy city of League City)
Chief Ratliff says he still keeps in touch with the man he saved following their reunion this May. (Courtesy city of League City)

Chief Ratliff says he still keeps in touch with the man he saved following their reunion this May. (Courtesy city of League City)

On March 24, League City Police Chief Gary Ratliff spotted two white trucks pulled over at the intersection of South Shore Boulevard and Austin Street. At the time, Ratliff said he thought it might be a minor accident, but could not see any damage to either vehicle.

When he pulled over at the scene, Ratliff said there was a bystander who pointed out 70-year-old William Floyd Smith, unconscious in the driver’s seat of one of the trucks. Ratliff looked closer and realized Smith was not breathing and did not have a pulse.

In the truck’s passenger side was Smith’s 13-year old grandson, who Smith was driving to school at the time he went into cardiac arrest and passed out. His grandson was on the phone with 911 at that point and the dispatcher recognized Ratliff’s voice through the phone.

“My dispatcher could hear me and, he said, ‘Chief, is that you?’” Ratliff said.

Ratliff said he and the bystander got Smith out of the vehicle and set him on the ground where Ratliff began chest compressions.


“He tried to breathe a little bit, a couple of times, and then he would stop when I would stop doing compressions,” Ratliff said.

League City EMS Chief Gregory Kunkel arrived then and took over compressions.

“It was just one of the most impressive things I’ve seen in a long time, seeing the police chief in a full suit down on the street doing compressions, which made all the difference in the world,” Kunkel said.

By the time Smith was being taken to the hospital by EMS, Ratliff said he was in a more stable condition.

“If you've ever seen League City EMS work on the side of the road like that ... it's like an emergency room on the side of the road,” Ratliff said. “EMS guys are really the true heroes each and every day, because those guys are the ones that sustain life, from the scene to the hospital.”

A couple months later, on May 27, Ratliff and Smith reunited for the first time, and Ratliff recounted the events to Smith as he had no memories of the incident himself. Ratliff said he was happy to see Smith again.

“It was good to see him and I was glad to see that he was feeling better,” Ratliff said.

At this reunion, Smith expressed his gratitude to Ratliff, as well as to Kunkel and the EMS crew members who were also present.

“Because y’all were so good at what you do, I’m able to be here today and spend some more time with my family,” Smith said.

Since then, Ratliff said he has kept in touch by sending Smith periodic text messages.

“I think that he feels like he owes me something, because he'll make comments every now and then when I'm asking him how he's doing, like ‘I'm doing okay because of you’,” Ratliff said. “I get that he feels that. But, honestly, I probably recognize my guys, at least 12 to 15 times a year for lifesaving work ... It's what we do.”

Ratliff has been with the League City Police Department for 37 years.

“I've probably applied lifesaving measures to anywhere from 12 to 24 people throughout the years that I was on patrol way back when, and most of the time, it doesn't come out well,” said Ratliff.

<

MOST RECENT

The Deer Park location is owned and operated by local entrepreneurs Sonda and Michael Frament. Michael has over 20 years of professional experience in computer programming and software development. (Courtesy of Sonda and Michael Frament)
Code Ninjas opens Deer Park location

The national kids' coding franchise also has Pearland, Friendswood and League City locations.

Pride Houston Parade
Pride Houston fall parade and festival canceled due to COVID-19 concerns

The downtown annual parade and festival, scheduled for Sept. 25, will be replaced by a Montrose block party and other events, organizers announced July 25.

The CDC reversed its masking guidance for fully vaccinated individuals in response to the transmissibility of the delta variant of COVID-19 in a press conference July 27. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
NEW CDC GUIDANCE: All individuals should wear masks in K-12 schools, including those who are fully vaccinated

The new CDC guidance, announced July 27, also recommends people in areas with "high" or "substantial" levels of transmission wear masks regardless of vaccination status.

Judson Robinson III
Historic preservation dispute complicates embattled Hurricane Harvey recovery program

Progress on home reconstructions in some areas has stalled or moved forward with a different style and sometimes smaller layout than the homes had prior to the storm.

(Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Texas Medical Center coronavirus updates: Average testing positivity rate nears 10% after sharp increase

Over 97% of people nationwide who are being hospitalized because of the disease are unvaccinated.

The more than $26 billion set of projects will project residents and businesses from flooding caused by storm surge. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Billion-dollar benefit: Gulf Coast Protection District aims to fund coastal barrier project

Legislators this session passed the creation of the Gulf Coast Protection District. On June 16, Gov. Greg Abbott signed the district into law.

Six Friendswood citizens were honored in Hope Village's fundraiser. (Haley Morrison/Community Impact Newspaper)
Hope Village honors residents from 12 Houston-area cities in 'Faces of Hope' fundraiser

Nominees received yard signs that were out on lawns for approximately two weeks in July.

As variants are isolated and identified, Houston Methodist's Dr. Ian Glass believes the vaccines available can handle identified variants (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
'The vaccines we have are effective against all the variants out there': Houston Methodist's Dr. Ian Glass discusses variants, vaccinations

As Houston Methodist identified its first case of the lambda variant July 19, Dr. Glass believes vaccines can handle known variants.

(Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
Clear Creek ISD trustees to vote on district's 2021-22 compensation, benefits plan July 26

The proposed plan includes a 3% salary increase for all employees.

As variants are isolated and identified, Houston Methodist's Dr. Ian Glass believes the vaccines available can handle identified variants. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Here is how Galveston County's COVID-19 positivity rates, infection patterns compare year over year

The county was in the middle of a second wave of coronavirus infections in July 2020. One year later, an outbreak has affected more than 150 county residents and marked the emergence of the delta variant.