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Pocketful Of Coupons Helps Man Survive Accidental Shooting

September 14, 1988

EUCLID, Ohio (AP) _ A pocketful of coupons paid off for 81-year-old Paul Trentel, who says the wad helped slow a bullet and saved his life from an accidental shooting.

″Thank God I had them in there,″ Trentel said. ″The bullet actually tore a hole through some of them. They were so thick they must have made the bullet lose speed, because the bullet hit, then went sideways across my chest.″

Trentel was shot Friday when a 36-year-old woman dropped her purse, causing the weapon to discharge, said police Detective Robert Pestak. The woman told police she carried the gun after being threatened by her estranged husband.

The woman ran from the restaurant after discarding the gun in the trash, but later surrendered to police.

″I heard a loud explosion that sounded like a cannon going off,″ Trentel said. ″But I didn’t know I was hit until I reached under my jacket and found blood. I didn’t feel anything. The security guard came up to me and said ’You’ve been shot.‴

Trentel, of East Cleveland, said the bullet burrowed across his chest, creating a 5-inch welt. The bullet was removed at Meridia Euclid Hospital, and Trentel was released after the treatment.

″It happened so suddenly it was freaky,″ Trentel said. ″I didn’t feel any burning. They pulled the bullet out with tweezers. I just have a small hole where they took the bullet out.″

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