Statement of Ethan Clark on the rescue attempt of 28 July 2000


I am a member of the young men's organization of the Latter-Day Saint (LDS) Springfield (Virginia) Ward, and am a registered member of Venture Team 1538, which is organized as part of the Springfield Ward. (Venture Team 1538 is part of the Old Dominion district, National Capital Area Council.)

On Thursday July 27th I attended a multi-ward LDS youth conference held in Prince William Park, Manassas; it was scheduled to last through Saturday the 30th. Activities included inspirational meetings, "gleaning" (harvesting corn) and sports. An evening dance was scheduled for Saturday evening to conclude the event.

On the evening of the 28th (Friday), youth and youth leaders went to a local Dairy Queen for treats; we got back late, around 10:30 pm. When he arrived at camp, I offered to help the Bishop Best (our ecclesiastical leader and chartered organization head) move some of his personal equipment. As we were doing this in the parking lot, I saw a man collapse, and heard someone yelling, "Bishop Best, come quick!"

I thought it was some teens playing a joke, but it became clear that one of the youth leaders - Doug Edgell of the Burke LDS Ward - was having a heart attack and was going into cardiac arrest. Louise Prosek, who is a registered nurse, and I immediately started to do CPR. I performed the timed chest compressions and she did mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Mr. Edgell had no pulse and wasn't breathing. I did the compressions and we kept it up for about fifteen minutes until the paramedics arrived; they took over and thanked me for my work. It appeared to me that Mr. Edgell revived twice. I left the scene shortly after the paramedics began work and removed him to a hospital.

I had a difficult time falling to sleep that night, wondering if Mr. Edgell survived the heart attack. Later that evening Bishop Best woke me, and told me Doug Edgell had died on the way to the hospital. This fact didn't seem to affect me at all until I went to talk to the kids from the Burke Ward the next morning. They were crying and I felt the need to talk to them to brief them on what happened. It was awful; I was thanked repeatedly and felt grateful that I was able to help, despite the fact that the heart attack was fatal.