A man who suffered an apparent heart attack and crashed his pickup into a tree at Pepper Branch Park was given a second chance at life when paramedics were able to revive him Monday afternoon.
The driver, James Schoenmann, 44, had reportedly been suffering from chest pains for several days leading up to the crash Monday afternoon, but had delayed seeing a doctor because he didn’t have health insurance.
The cardiac event seized him as he was nearing his home just after 4 p.m. Monday. He had just turned onto Old Morrison Road from South Chancery Street when he fell unconscious behind the wheel.
His truck then plunged down the hill near Frank G. Clement Bridge and began rolling toward the water. Schoenmann, who was wearing his seatbelt, is believed to have been unconscious the entire time before the truck eventually struck a tree next to a creek that empties into the Barren Fork River.
Rescue crews rushed to the scene where they found the driver still behind the wheel of the truck, which was still in gear. Schoenmann was reportedly unresponsive and not breathing. Police and rescue crews braved the chilling water to pull him out of the truck and bring him to dry land where CPR was started.
While at first unsuccessful at returning a heartbeat, use of the ambulance defibrillator succeeded in bringing him back on the third try.
Schoenmann was taken to River Park and then transferred to a Nashville-area hospital.