Inmate helps save another’s life |

Inmate helps save another’s life

An inmate at the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility helped stop what could have been a deadly fight at the jail Tuesday night.

After 38-year-old inmate Ronald Shima was knocked unconscious by another inmate and began choking, inmate Nicholas Dion reportedly reached through the bars of his cell and pulled Shima toward him.

He then turned Shima on his side so the victim would not become more seriously injured or choke to death.

“It was a very good thing,” Nevada County Sheriff’s Lt. Gary Smith said. “Anytime these guys assist us, it is a good thing.”

Tuesday at 9 p.m., Shima was watching television in a housing area of the jail. Inmate Ernest Dotson, 19, apparently challenged Shima over what was on the television, Smith said.

Dotson is being held at Wayne Brown for allegedly assaulting a correctional officer at the California Youth Authority’s Washington Ridge camp and trying to escape from the camp.

As soon as Shima stood up to argue, Dotson reportedly punched him in the head. A jail guard immediately called for reinforcement and the area was locked down.

Shima was taken to Sutter Roseville Medical Center to test for possible brain injuries. Smith said Thursday that Shima was ready to be released from the hospital and be brought back to the jail.

Smith said that at the time Shima was punched, he had been eating and began choking after he was hit. He also temporarily lost consciousness.

After Dion saw that Shima was choking, Smith said, he was able to pull him toward his cell and turn him on his side.

Although she was not involved in Shima’s case, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital registered nurse Stephanie Hendricks said that someone who is choking has an obstructed airway and cannot breath.

“If nobody is there to help, there is a good chance someone could die,” she said.

Hendricks said that when Dion moved Shima onto his side, he moved him into the “recovery position,” which helps to keep the airway clear.

“(Dion) at least prevented more airway compromise,” she said. “That was definitely a smart thing for him to do.”

Dion, 25, was serving time at the jail for possession of a controlled substance and vehicle theft.

Like all inmates who demonstrate good behavior, Smith said, Dion will be rewarded for what he did.

“We really appreciate when they do a good deed,” he said.

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