MEDINA, Ohio — A bandage on the left arm of Tyler Mills partially covers a tattoo that reads “Ride or Die.”
The irony is not lost on the 24-year-old man when he thinks about his close call with death following a motorcycle crash in Lafayette Township.
Mills believes he’s alive thanks to two Medina County deputies who happened to come upon the accident scene on the evening of March 16.
“By the Grace of God, I don’t even believe it’s a coincidence. There was somebody watching over me that day,” Mills said during a reunion with the deputies at the Medina County Sheriff’s Office. “This really, really puts the meaning to never take anything for granted and you always have to live your life like it’s your last day.”
Just before 7 p.m., Mills hit the gravel on Ryan Road and his motorcycle slid out leading to a bad accident. Investigators do not think speed was a factor in the crash.
“I ended up flying about 40 feet through the air and by the time I got back up, I was in such shock,” he said.
He was bleeding badly due to a laceration that went to the bone and a torn artery.
His fiancee, who was driving behind Mills in a truck, pulled over and tried to use a belt as a tourniquet.
Moments later, deputies Paul Demko and Yevgeniy Koval— who were on their way to another call in Seville— spotted the wreck. Saving Mills became their priority.
“It was obvious somebody was hurt. The motorcycle was down and the man was just holding his left arm. You could see it was really kind of obvious that it was bleeding,” Koval said.
Koval quickly told Demko to apply a tourniquet on Mills. Demko demonstrated his actions during an interview with News 5.
“It’s a Velcro strap and just put as much pressure you can, and it’s got windlass and you just turn the windlass until it just tightens and tightens and tightens up,” Demko said.
Mills was rushed to Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital where doctors told him that the helmet and the tourniquet were the difference between life and death.
“They told me those deputies definitely saved me because if they hadn’t done and acted how they did when they did, it would have been a different outcome,” Mills said.
Both deputies are grateful Mills survived and said they relied on their training in the critical moments following the motorcycle crash.
“You have to be at the right place at the right time and that was the time and the right place to be there— the S curves on Ryan Road, so I feel really good about it that we saved his life,” Koval said.
While Mills considers the deputies to be his heroes, they don’t see it that way.
“It’s just part of the day,” Demko said. “We come to work, we have no idea what we’re gonna expect. It’s just part of the job.”
Mills, a Marine Corps veteran who works for the county in building maintenance, bought some gifts for the deputies when he returned to the job in April. Mills and some of his motorcycle buddies are also planning to buy a dozen tourniquets over the next couple of weeks and then donate them to the Medina County Sheriff’s Office.
“I mean, what are the odds that something like that is going to happen and those two deputies are going to be there?” Mills said. “I definitely owe those guys my life.”
Mills, who said he plans to ride motorcycles again, said while it’s difficult to find a way to truly say thank you, he will be forever grateful to the men who gave him a second chance a life.
“Anything that they would ever need, I’d be there.”