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Union Native Credited With Saving the Life of a Spartanburg Driver

Daniel Prince

Driver was stabilized at the hospital after Tesner's lifesaving actions

A Union native and former deputy with the Union County Sheriff’s Office is credited with helping to save the life of a Spartanburg driver who was having a medical issue. University of South Carolina Upstate Police Sergeant James Tesner stopped a vehicle traveling in the wrong direction along Highway 9 in Boiling Springs.

According to a release by the university, Tesner was on his lunch break on Sunday, July 3, when a citizen flagged him down in his patrol car near the intersection of Highway 9 and 4th Street. The citizen alerted Tesner of a vehicle heading the wrong direction on the highway. Tesner found the vehicle and saw the driver appeared to be unconscious. He placed his patrol vehicle in the path of the other car just before it came to a stop.

Tesner could not rouse the driver, and all the doors to the vehicle were locked. The driver slumped over and went limp, causing the car to roll forward into Tesner’s patrol vehicle. Tesner grabbed a tool from his car and broke the passenger-side window in order to gain access to the driver. He determined the man did not have a pulse and was not breathing. Tesner began to administer CPR, and he was able to detect a weak heart rate and shallow breathing. An off-duty emergency medical technician helped Tesner continue to administer CPR when the man’s heartbeat and breathing again stopped. EMS arrived and transported the driver to Spartanburg Medical Center, where he was stabilized.

David Myers, assistant chief of police at USC Upstate, called Tesner’s actions “an outstanding example of community policing and professional conduct in the safeguarding of all life regardless of jurisdictional boundaries.”

Tesner, age 55, has been with the USC Upstate Police Department since 2016. A veteran of the US Army, Tesner began policing with the Union County Sheriff’s Office. His uncle, Troy Brewington, worked for USC Upstate as a police officer and fire marshal. Tesner lives with his wife, Nicole, in Jonesville. They have four children and five grandchildren.

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