When a Good Samaritan stopped to help a wrecked motorist in Smyrna on Saturday, he didn't expect to have to throw himself off of a bridge to avoid a second wreck. The 36-year-old man from Mableton is a bona fide hero -- the kind of hero that makes a great story.
Unfortunately, it's also the kind of story that seems to require a bad guy, and you might expect that the bad guy in this story is a drunk driver. However, you might be surprised to learn who has been charged with DUI in the case.
At around 3:00 a.m. Saturday morning on the East-West Connector in Smyrna, the driver of a Saturn VUE sport utility vehicle apparently struck a bridge guardrail and spun out. The Mableton man stopped to help and was standing on the bridge when another vehicle came barreling through and struck the Saturn.
According to a Smyrna police officer interviewed by the press, the Good Samaritan "had to make a choice whether to stay in the roadway or jump over a bridge parapet."
He jumped. He landed on the bed of an abandoned railroad line 37 feet below, sustaining a broken arm and leg. Nevertheless, he managed to call 911 on his cell phone.
"I had no idea how deep the drop was until I actually jumped over," he told reporters on Monday, "and it was like the never-ending drop."
Stopping to help a stranded motorist at 3:00 a.m. is a kind and generous act, although it can be risky. The gentleman from Mableton couldn't have expected it to be quite this risky, however.
"It was a split-second decision," he said. "It was either -- in my mind -- get smashed by the cars or jump. And at the time it was the best decision to jump."
So where was the drunk driver in this story? Was it the speeding car that slammed into the disabled vehicle the Good Samaritan had stopped to help?
Afraid not. The person charged with DUI and failure to maintain lane in this case was the disabled driver of the Saturn SUV. The 26-year-old woman from Austell has been booked into the Smyrna jail. Press reports have made no mention of anyone else being arrested.
Despite being pulled out through a drainage ditch by paramedics, despite his broken arm and leg, despite everything, the Good Samaritan says he would do it all over again.
"I would definitely stop for someone else," he said.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Good Samaritan talks about 37-foot plunge off Smyrna bridge," Mike Morris, May 24, 2011