MISSION HILLS (CBSLA.com) — A California Highway Patrol officer was reunited Tuesday with a Southland woman whom he stopped for driving erratically when she was actually suffering a stroke.

KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports Kathy Byron’s mother says angels were watching over her daughter that day on the 405 Freeway as Byron drove to LAX from her home in Irvine to catch a flight.

One of those angels was CHP Officer Kevin Preinitz, who initially stopped Byron for driving erratically on the San Diego (405) Freeway in Torrance, but who authorities also say went beyond standard sobriety tests to check this motorist for signs she was suffering a stroke.

“She had slurred speech, the left side of her face was..somewhat droopy, and she was drooling out of the left side of her face,” said Preinitz.

Byron says she knew something was wrong with her vehicle – it was later found to have sustained significant damage – and knew she had to exit the freeway.

It was at that time CHP had received a call about a reckless driver possibly under the influence.

Byron eventually managed to cross four lanes of traffic and exited the freeway with Preinitz following behind.

Preinitz, who is trained as an EMT, was reunited with Byron at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance, where physicians confirmed Byron was having a stroke and treated her. Doctors released Byron just one day later.

At the reunion Tuesday, Byron could only marvel at her good fortune. “I was blessed that day to have people looking out for me,” she said.


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