A Good Samaritan died Sunday morning when he was struck while trying to help a man who had been injured in a previous traffic crash on I-75, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
The 59-year-old man died at the scene.
A 31-year-old woman was one of the drivers taken to Tampa General Hospital in serious condition. Another 24-year-old driver was taken to St. Joseph’s South with minor injuries.
The third driver, a 32-year-old man, was taken to Tampa General with minor injuries. Troopers said he had been drinking.
The crash happened about 4:39 a.m. on southbound I-75 at about Milepost 254 in Hillsborough County.
Troopers said the third driver was driving a 2018 Toyota Tacoma south on I-75 when, for an unknown reason, he stopped in the inside travel lane. The first driver was driving a 2003 Buick LeSabre, and was unable to see or stop in time and collided with the Tacoma. Both vehicles came to rest in the travel lanes.
The Good Samaritan, who had been driving south on I-75, stopped and extricated the third driver from the wreckage and moved him to the inside shoulder to provide medical aid, troopers said.
The second driver, who was driving a 2010 Toyota Camry, failed to see the Tacoma and the LeSabre. The Camry collided with the Tacoma, which rotated and hit the Good Samaritan, killing him.
After the impact between the Camry and the Tacoma, the Tacoma burst into flames.
Charges are pending, troopers said.
According to the Florida Good Samaritan Act, “any person, including those licensed to practice medicine” who willingly, and in good faith, provides emergency care or treatment to another in an emergency situation shall not be liable for any civil damages as a result of such aid or treatment.”
This story highlights the need to exercise caution when rendering aid during a car crash. While helping others when they are injured is something most people want to help with, it is equally important to take your own safety into account first and foremost before putting yourself in harm’s way.
Our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have compiled a list to help Good Samaritans stay safe and still help crash victims:
- Park a safe distance from the crash. We recommend parking at least 100 feet from the crash site, so that first responders have room to work. This also allows you to assess the scene from a good distance to make sure that your own safety is not at risk.
- Use your hazard lights to tell oncoming traffic that they should proceed with caution.
- Call 911. Never make the assumption that someone else has notified 911 of the accident.
- Assess the situation from a distance, and look for victims who may have been thrown from their vehicles and any other hazards, such as leaking fuel, broken glass and downed power lines.
- Assist victims only if it is safe to do so. You can approach victims, but don’t attempt to move them unless the car is on fire or there’s some other imminent danger. Sometimes just talking to them, calming and reassuring them that you’ve called 911 is a big help.