Quick action saves Bellevue man who passed out in rush-hour traffic

Bill Pace woke up on a recent weekday morning feeling weak in the knees. A few days later, Pace was driving on his way back from a visit with a friend in Kent when he passed out behind wheel. As his car approached the I-405 interchange from Highway 167 in rush hour traffic, his car swerved from lane to lane, clocking in at around 35 miles an hour.

Bill Pace woke up on a recent weekday morning feeling weak in the knees. Acting on the side of caution, he phoned his primary doctor. After a thorough checkup with a nurse practitioner, Pace discovered his heart was out of rhythm.

Pace, of Bellevue, was given a heart monitor and was sent home.

A few days later, Pace was driving on his way back from a visit with a friend in Kent when he passed out behind wheel. As his car approached the I-405 interchange from Highway 167 in rush hour traffic, his car swerved from lane to lane, clocking in at around 35 miles an hour.

“Up until that point, I was feeling completely fine,” Pace said, noting that the nurse practitioner had given him the go-ahead to drive. “I had no indication I was about to pass out.”

Luckily for Pace, Duane Innes was in the car directly behind his and noticed the erratic driving and pulled up beside his car. He and his daughter were on their way to a Mariners game.

When Innes saw the driver was unconscious with his body clumped over the steering wheel, he acted quickly and cut in front of Pace’s car with his own, hitting bumpers. Both cars came to a stop at the Jersey Barrier.

The impact jolted Pace out of his unconscious state.

“I remember feeling the jolt from the impact and hearing a loud bang, but I was still unaware of what was happening,” Pace said.

Innes managed to get Pace’s attention long enough for him to open the driver side door. He immediately took Pace’s foot off the accelerator and took the keys out of the ignition. A motorcyclists, Chris Konomos, who had pulled up behind the two cars alerted them that help was on its way.

State Patrol and Medic One arrived shortly.

Following a medical checkup and blood tests, it was determined that Pace had experienced a severe drop in blood pressure which resulted in him losing consciousnesses. There were also signs of a minor heart attack which had occurred prior to Pace’s visit to the nurse practitioner.

“Duane saved my life,” said Pace, who is back home and doing well. “I was passed out and driving down the freeway during rush hour traffic. The situation could have been ugly. Most people would approach my swerving by giving me the finger as they drove by, but not Duane. He took the time to access the situation and then acted bravely. He’s truly my hero.”

Lindsay Larin can be reached at 425-453-4602.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Screenshot from Gov. Jay Inslee’s press conference on Aug. 5, 2020.
Inslee says schools in virus hot spots should stay closed

King County among high-risk counties; several school districts will have remote learning in the fall.

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok/Pexels
Bellevue reopens aquatic center

Swimmers must make reservations for pool use

King County Election headquarters in Renton on Aug. 4 for the primary election. Haley Ausbun/staff photo
Inslee and Culp lead governor race; incumbent Dems ahead for Congress | Statewide results

Early results for governor, state schools chief, attorney general and more.

Democrats dominate King County legislative races | Election results

Here are the latest results for King County legislative candidates in the… Continue reading

Inslee mask graphic
Free mask event for King County residents, Aug. 4 in Bellevue

The drive-thru distribution event will offer two masks per person

Primary election 2020: Who will emerge as Inslee’s challenger?

Voting ends Tuesday in an election without big rallies and fund-raisers and face-to-face debates

Sex ed, local control at heart of race for WA state schools chief

Incumbent Chris Reykdal faces five foes who argue he’s pushing too many state policies on school districts.

Screenshot of the 2020 Bellevue Downtown Association State of the City. Pictured: Mayor Lynne Robinson, Deputy Mayor Jared Nieuwenhuis and BDA President Patrick Bannon.
City leaders talk economic outlook, police reform and more with Bellevue Downtown Association

The annual State of the City with the BDA was held as a virtual fireside chat, livestreamed Thursday, July 30

(files)
County Fire Marshal issues burn ban

Dry conditions and high heats are in the forecast this week

Most Read