It's another afternoon on the air at WJLT for Dave Westrich. But last week, Westrich says he was attending the Deaconess GLVC Media Luncheon at Biaggi's in Evansville and couldn't get any air.
"I suddenly realized that I was choking and you know your first response is to, oh I'm going to drink a little water with that and get that down or whatever, and I drank that water and that didn't work. And I realized I couldn't swallow, I couldn't breathe," Westrich said.
Westrich says he was eating a pasta dish and choked on Italian beef. He says the man sitting at the table next to him, gave him the Heimlich maneuver. That man happened to be his afternoon radio rival, Mark Elliott from WIKY.
"My competitor saved me and I guess maybe I'm a little especially grateful because of that," Westrich said.
"I'm glad Dave is OK, and I hope what I did, is what anybody would have done in the same situation," Elliott said.
Westrich says there's more to this ironic story that involves his long time friend, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke.
"He opened up and he said, instructed everyone to continue eating, not to stop just because they were talking, he said, 'except for you Dave Westrich, you need to stop eating.' Well you know, I wasn't expecting that, it was a good laugh, a good joke, and I disobeyed him, and I began eating again and I'm kind of wondering if he has some power I don't know about," Westrich said.
Westrich says the incident happened so fast, and he says it takes a lot of courage to do what Elliott did.
"It was a scary thing because as a DJ, as somebody who talks for a living, it's scary enough when you can't talk, but this was more than that. This was my life in my hands here, and in this case, in Mark's hands," Westrich said.
A scary situation, but one Westrich can now share and laugh about.
"No, I didn't see the light. I see that light," Westrich said.
Westrich says just like CPR, it's important to know the Heimlich, in case you ever need to help somebody.