'That is a hero right there': Trooper saves choking Brooksville baby after parents flag him down for help

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — An infant has been recovering at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg after a Florida Highway Patrol trooper helped save his life, according to the child’s parents.

Shian and Dayton Phillips said their 8-month-old son, Daylen was playing on the floor of his room in Brooksville on Sunday. Dayton Phillips said he picked up his son and noticed he was gagging.

“He’s getting to the point where his eyes are getting really watery red, lips were turning blue, so we know at that point he’s not breathing,” Dayton Phillips recalled.

The family called 911, then hopped in a car and began driving toward Oak Hill Regional Hospital.

“There was a state trooper passing at the same time,” Dayton said.

Trooper Billy Ortiz was getting home after his shift when the family flagged him down. Ortiz jumped into action and tried to clear the baby’s airway.

According to the infant’s parents, when efforts were not successful, Ortiz and another family member rushed the baby to the hospital.

“It really kept me calm knowing that he was with the state trooper and my aunt at the time, who was a retired nurse and helped a lot,” Shian Phillips said.

Once Daylen arrived at Oak Hill Regional Hospital, his parents said a plastic wrapper was discovered in his throat.

They also said Ortiz stayed until the baby was airlifted to Johns Hopkins.

“I just feel like these types of things don’t get recognized enough. I feel like police are quick to get bashed but they are never quick to get recognized,” Dayton Phillips said. “He did not have to do anything he did. I feel like that is a true hero.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, Daylen remains in the hospital on a ventilator. His parents said he is doing better and they hope to bring him back home on Wednesday.

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