Canton Police thank woman for helping officer

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Canton Police thanked a woman who stopped to help a police officer who was dealing with an emergency situation on the side of the road.

At first, police did not know the mystery woman, but tracked her down through social media.

Her name is Crystal VanAlstyne. She was driving south on Interstate 575 when she saw a police officer performing CPR on a woman on the side of the road.

Police said moments earlier, the officer had spotted a truck pulled off to the side of the road. Inside he found a man and woman unconscious. He suspected they had both overdosed. As he began CPR on the woman, VanAlstyne ran up and started to help the man.

"The officer was alone, I know through CPR training, CPR isn't easy, it's hard," said VanAlstyne.

Once paramedics and deputies arrived, they took over, and VanAlstyne slipped away before anyone knew her name.

"There was nothing more for me to do at the scene," said VanAlstyne.

Police wanted to thank her, but they did not know who she was. Police posted a photo of her on their Facebook page and in no time, friends identified VanAlstyne.

"A lot of vehicles drove by, she was the only one who stopped to help," said Canton Police Officer Danny Mendoza.

VanAlstyne said she felt driven to help. Three months earlier her husband, Ronald, had been in a motorcycle crash.

"Police told me there were people who stopped to help him. His injuries were beyond help, but then helping us gave us six more days with him on life support so we could be there with him," said VanAlstyne.

VanAlstyne said when she stopped on the interstate she did not know what had happened to the two people. When she learned it was an overdose, she felt like her husband had led her to help. She said when he was younger her husband had battled the demons of drug abuse.

"I don’t know if he’s guiding me in that direction, he’s had problems with addiction in his past," said VanAlstyne.

VanAlstyne's husband, Ronald, died from injuries he received in a motorcycle crash on Callaway Road near Jim Miller Park on March 1. Crystal said she does not know who the people are who stopped to help him, but she is thankful for the extra six days she had with him. She said it gave her family time to say goodbye.

"The people who helped my husband I would love to see. They're a huge part of my life and I don't even know who they are," said VanAlstyne.

VanAlstyne will be recognized for her life-saving efforts at the August 3 Canton City Council meeting.