As a veterinarian for nearly 24 years, Kevin Kuhn has performed CPR on animals plenty of times.
But he had never done the procedure on a human – until Friday.
It was around 8:30 a.m., and Kuhn was at his business, Afton Animal Hospital at 6543 Main St., Amherst, when his staff heard a crash.
A vehicle traveling east on Main struck a mailbox and tree, then crossed five lanes of traffic before crashing into a pole and guy wire at 6508 Main, between Transit and Youngs roads, police said.
Kuhn went out to make sure everyone was OK.
The vehicle was still running, but the doors were locked, and the driver was pale and unconscious behind the wheel.
Kuhn used his elbow to try to break the window, but it wouldn’t budge. A motorist who stopped to help retrieved a lug wrench from his vehicle.
Kuhn smashed the rear driver-side window with the tool – slicing his left hand on the glass – unlocked the driver’s door and turned off the engine.
Kuhn and the bystander lifted the driver out of the seat and onto the ground.
The veterinarian couldn’t feel a pulse, so he began chest compressions.
Kuhn continued the procedure for about two or three minutes, until Officer Adam Anstett showed up at the scene and delivered a shock with an automated external defibrillator.
Crews from Main-Transit Fire Department arrived next.
“Just as they were coming, he did give a breath, which was pretty reassuring to me,” Kuhn said later.
The driver was identified by Amherst police as Kenneth Leshney, 57, of Buffalo, who was transported to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.
His condition was not immediately available Friday evening, but Kuhn was told by police that Leshney was stable.
Kuhn, 50, has been a veterinarian since 1990 and has owned his practice since 1994. He also is administrator for the Veterinarian Emergency Clinic on Genesee Street in Cheektowaga.
Kuhn has trained people how to perform CPR on their pets, but when asked if he ever performed CPR on a person before, Kuhn said, “I don’t think so.”
Did he save a life Friday?
“I’d like to think it made a difference,” Kuhn said, “but either way, I’m just glad he’s stable now.”