A woman from the western Iowa town of Missouri Valley suffered from a medical condition this morning while heading down Interstate 29 in Pottawattamie County. Sheriff Jeff Danker says the incident began around 6:15 A.M., north of the Honey Creek exit.

Sheriff Danker says the woman was driving southbound on I-29 with her husband in the passenger seat. The driver had a heart problem and collapsed at the wheel. Her husband was able to get the vehicle stopped and got her out of the vehicle. After other motorists stopped to offer assistance, a sheriff’s deputy was sent to the scene.

When Sergeant Jim Harvey arrived, Danker says he used his automatic external defibrillator to try and save the woman, who’s identified as 54-year old Karen Lenz. Danker says Lenz used the AED to shock the woman three times and stayed there until paramedics arrived. Lenz was flown by LifeNet helicopter to the University of Nebraska Medical Center at Omaha.

A report on Lenz’ condition is not available. Danker says she and her husband, Thomas, were on their way to work when the incident occurred. For about three years now, the sheriff says AEDs have been carried in all of his department’s vehicles in hopes lives can be saved.

He says it’s not something that’s used on an everyday basis, but often his deputies are the first on the scene and using the devices can make a difference in keeping someone alive until trained medical personnel can render aid. Danker says he’s not sure how many times the AEDs have been used, but he says the incident today wasn’t the first time and it likely won’t be the last.

By Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic