Man reunited with trooper who saved his life

Ben Lindley hugs ISP Sgt. Luke Nathalang Wednesday at Lindley's home.
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An Indiana State Police trooper was reunited Wednesday with a man whose life he saved on a downtown highway.

Last week, 48-year,old Ben Lindley and Indiana State Police Sgt. Luke Nathalang were mere strangers. Wednesday, though, the two men hugged like old friends in Lindley's front yard.

"I can't believe it," said Sergeant Nathalang, looking at Lindley.

"I can't either," Lindley replied.

The two men seemed like they had known each other forever.

Surprising, after you consider the circumstances surrounding their first meeting last Tuesday. Lindley didn't have a pulse and Nathalang broke two of his ribs.

"Right there," said Lindley, pointing to where he still has pain.

Lindley's not holding any grudges against the sergeant, though.

"That's a good sore," said Lindley of the pain.

"I'm sorry," Nathalang told him.

Lindley said the broken ribs have been worth it. That's because Nathalang saved Lindley's life when he performed CPR on him.

"When I took you out of that van, it was like...I was so helpless," Nathalang told Lindley. "I was shaking you and trying to talk to you and obviously, you know, no response."

Lindley had crashed his car on Interstate 65 near the south split after having a massive heart attack behind the wheel of his van. Moments later, Nathalang came upon the accident scene.

"I truly believe, that it's know, it was meant for me to be there. God meant for me to be there," said Nathalang.

"I have no recollection. I don't remember anything," said Lindley.

Nathalang doesn't remember how long he worked on Lindley, but said he got a pulse and then lost it several times before paramedics got there.

"Somewhere, down deep there, you were trying to fight back," Nathalang told Lindley.

Lindley's doctor told him he died several times.

"I had asked him, 'How massive was this heart attack?'," said Lindley of the questions he asked the doctor at Methodist Hospital when he came out of sedation several days later.

"He said, 'Well, you died. It doesn't get anymore massive than that'," Lindley remembered.

It turned out, though, it just wasn't Lindley's time. In part, thanks to Sergeant Nathalang.

"I'm glad you did what you did," Lindley told the sergeant.

"It's a miracle," Nathalang replied. "It's still amazing to me that you're standing here."

Lindley wasn't the only one on hand to thank Nathalang.

His fiance, Joyce Hayes, said she's indebted to the sergeant, too.

"Thank you. You're wonderful," said Hayes, hugging the sergeant and handing him a bouquet of flowers.

"Thank you for giving him back to me," Hayes added, tearing up.

"It's my privilege and honor to be able to do something for him as a human being," Nathalang said. "It takes a team effort to bring you back. It wasn't just me."

"But you were the main part. You were the main reason," Lindley replied.

"Its just a blessing for me," said Nathalang.

"It's a blessing for us, a blessing for our family," Hayes responded.

For this couple, there are more blessings right around the corner. Recently engaged, Lindley and Hayes have decided to set a wedding date, sooner rather than later.

When asked if Nathalang would be invited to the wedding, the couple didn't hesitate.

"He might be the best man, actually," said Hayes.

You might have already guessed, too, the sergeant won't need to buy the couple a wedding gift.

"There will be no gift required," said Lindley.

That's because he's already given the couple one that's priceless - a second chance.