Being a 'Good Samaritan' on the highway could be dangerous, even deadly

Posted at 10:55 AM, Nov 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-15 11:55:43-05

By Howard Ballou

COPIAH COUNTY, MS (WLBT) -You see a traffic accident and maybe someone is injured. You want to stop and help. It’s human nature, but doing so can be dangerous -- even deadly.

Case in point, on Monday, a Louisiana teacher died at the scene of a crash on I-55 in Copiah County.

Baton Rouge High teacher dies attempting to assist in crash on Mississippi roadway ]

She was struck by an 18-wheeler after stopping to help the driver of a car involved in the accident.

Back in August, former Mississippi State All-American, Stan Black of Madison, was killed after he stopped at the scene of a crash on I-55 north of the Canton exit.

'Good Samaritan': Former MSU All-American killed in Madison Co. car crash ]

Black got out of his car to help the passenger of an SUV involved in the wreck and move sheetrock from the interstate.

A woman driving a Kia could not stop her car in time and slammed into Black, killing him.

“Well, of course, people want to help, but you know, your safety, when you want to help, is pretty much your first priority," said Cpl. Kervin Stewart with the Mississippi Highway Patrol. “You know, you can’t help anybody if you’re hurt, but if you do that, take all the safety precautions you can. Pull over safely out the roadway, be aware of your surroundings, but also be aware that a lot of people probably aren’t paying attention to what’s going on ahead of them and you just have to watch out for them also.”

Cpl. Stewart said the holiday season will bring on even greater challenges on the highways. Thanksgiving, he said, is the most traveled period in America and he urges all drivers to be extra cautious.

“Wear your safety belt. Don’t drink and drive. If you’re going to drink, have a designated driver," reminded Cpl. Stewart. "I mean, it’s that time of year again where people are gonna be celebrating and, of course, if you’re gonna be out celebrating, you know, just make sure you have some safety plans in place. There’re plenty of applications on your phone you can use now to get you to and from your location, plus make sure you have a designated driver.”

As for stopping at the scene of an accident to help, in some cases, it may be better to keep moving and let first responders do what they’re trained to do rather than risk even more tragedy.

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