Local teacher saves life of choking student

By: Colleen Donovan   Bio | Email | Twitter

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A Hattiesburg sixth-grade teacher's quick thinking saved the life of one of her students.

Zaria Tillman, a sixth grade student at Rowan Elementary School was in a substitute's class when her math teacher, LaSonya Sledge, dropped by. Tillman started choking on a Snickers bar the substitute had given her for good behavior, "and the next thing you know it went down the wrong pipe, and I was chocking and it felt like I couldn't breathe."

Sledge took action and "immediately, I guess I threw down whatever I had in my hands and looked at her, and her face was pale, kind of purplish, and I just kind of swung her around because she is super tall, and I applied pressure right underneath her abdomen."

Sledge said she was trained on how to use the Heimlich maneuver in high school and college, but that day at Rowan was her first time putting those skills to use in a real-life situation.

Sledge says her motherly instincts came into play, and for that Tillman is forever thankful.

"Without her doing that I really wouldn't be here right now."