North Carolina inmates on road project help officer after stroke, sheriff’s office says

Three North Carolina prison inmates have been honored for helping a part-time sheriff’s office employee who suffered a stroke while overseeing roadside cleanup duty.

According to the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office, roadside supervisor James Smith “suffered a medical condition” while working with the inmates in Elizabethtown Wednesday.

“Those inmates stood by with Mr. Smith and stopped traffic to get help for him,” said the sheriff’s office, which noted that there “were so many other options [the inmates] could have taken.”

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The Bladen Journal identified the inmates as Roy William Smith, Rosendo Morales-Sanchez, and Franklin Edens Jr., and said the three called 911 with James Smith’s cell phone and waited with him until help arrived.

Bladen County Chief Deputy Larry Guyton told local news outlets that James Smith was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville and later moved to Duke University Hospital. A family member told WECT that Smith was resting and recovering in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

All three inmates were given special awards during a promotion ceremony Thursday afternoon. The men told the station they had developed a good relationship with the supervisor, who had treated them well.

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“He’s a good man. He’s more than a police officer,” Roy Smith said. “He’s more or less like my friend. He’s just a really good guy all the way around.”

“At the end of the day, knowing he is OK, that makes you feel better,” Edens said.”

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