Head of the State Police recounts near-death wasp encounter

Rhode Island State Police Superintendent Colonel James Manni. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

By WPRO News

The Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police said he narrowly survived an attack by yellow jackets, and had to be revived by paramedics.

Colonel James Manni was working in the yard at his South Kingstown home July 23 when he stirred a nest of yellow jackets, a type of wasp, which repeatedly stung him … to the point where he passed out from low blood pressure.

“I never knew I had an allergy to bees,” Manni, 60, told WPRO’s Gene Valicenti on Tuesday.

“This turned in to a pretty deadly situation pretty quickly, within minutes.”

“I fell in the bathroom, my wife heard the thud upstairs. She said my head was leaning against the cabinets. She said, “Jim, your eyes were wide open, you were unresponsive, and I really thought you were dead”,” he recounted.

Emergency medical service workers from the town responded to his home, administered epinephrine and transported Manni to South County Hospital.

“They saved my life, there’s no question they saved my life.”

Manni’s experience came to light six weeks later when he reached out to town officials to thank the EMS workers who responded, according to the Providence Journal, which reported that he was released later that night, returned to work within a few days, and now carries an EpiPen, an auto-injection device which delivers a dose of epinephrine.