Driver who was hit during chase says he’s thankful for strangers’ help
GASTONIA, N.C. —
The man who was in a car that was hit during a chase in Gastonia on Monday is now out of the hospital. He said he's alive because of the strangers who jumped in to help him.
Phil Firrantello said the police chase and crash that sent him to the hospital have restored his faith in people.
“There are still people out there that will go above and beyond to take care of you when they don't even know you,” he said.
He was headed home from work Monday morning at the same time police were pursuing a burglary suspect on Interstate 85.
Firrantello was stopped at the light at the Cox Road exit. Police said that's when the suspect rear-ended him, and his car ended up pushed off the road.
“Next thing I know, I was in a hospital and people were working on me,” Firrantello said.
Firrantello said he never saw the car approaching in his rear-view mirror and didn't know that the driver got out and ran. That's why he's grateful for the men that chased the suspect and held him until police arrived.
“If he would have just taken off running and no one did that, there would have been no accountability,” Firrantello said.
A bystander saw Firrantello walking around in a daze. She stopped to help him.
“I very easily could have walked into traffic,” Firrantello said.
He wanted to say thank you to her and the men who held onto the suspect.
“I'm sure a lot of people had places to be,” Firrantello said. “From what I can tell, there are four or five people who put their lives on hold to make sure what was going on in the immediate was taken care of."
He hopes he will someday get to thank them in person.