Mayhem’s Unsung Heroes

Strangers often help, comfort and protect accident victims
I’ve investigated traffic accidents for about 15 years for personal injury lawyers. You name it, I’ve had it. I’ve had bike on pedestrian, car on car, car on pedestrian, truck v. pedestrian, truck v bike, even bike v bike and all permutations of motorcycle v everything.
It’s time to praise the real first responders: The poor bystander who comes to comfort the victim, call 911, stick around until police take their statement and then later give a statement to me or other investigators. Paramedics and EMTs and firefighters are great. But what about Joe and Jane Citizen going to get the dry cleaning or taking the dog for a bath when they see a horrific wreck or accident and then just plunge in to help? 
Many people involved in a crash won’t have a loved one readily available. The job falls on a stranger to offer comfort. Sometimes the bystander even shields or guards the victim to make sure they don’t get run over and hurt even worse. It sometimes takes medical providers at least 10 or 15 minutes to arrive at a scene. I can’t imagine anything tougher than seeing a fellow human bleeding and in agony.
A pickup truck nailed a bike rider here at Laney and took off
I had a case in Oakland a couple months ago where a whole gang of strangers banded together near Laney College to comfort a victim and corral a hit-and-run driver. It all began when a bike rider slowly tried to cross an intersection with a green light. A pickup who had a red light rolled through, accelerated and blasted the guy on the bike in the crosswalk.
Several people saw it and took action. One lady, a banker from Oakland, gave chase in her car and blocked the suspect after he had driven away more than a block from the scene. Another woman who lives in the neighborhood went and tended to the victim, shielding his body from oncoming traffic with her own body. Her husband, a rather large Samoan gentleman, chased after the suspect on foot to make sure he didn’t escape.
Many times I end my interviews thanking the witness for being there and for helping the victim.