Good Samaritan falls from highway, dies while helping crash victim
By WFSB Staff
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -
The man who stopped on Interstate 84 to help a crash victim and ended up falling from the elevated roadway has died, according to the man's family.
The family of Richard Herron, of Elkton, MD, said the 83-year-old man passed away late Monday morning from the injuries he suffered in the 30-foot fall.
Connecticut State Police said Shelia Jenkins, 45, of Hartford, was traveling east on Interstate 84 around 2 a.m. during rainy weather in the right-center lane and attempted to change into the right lane while negotiating a curve in the road.
State police said Jenkins lost control of her Ford Explorer, veered abruptly to the left and struck a Jersey barrier along the front left quarter and driver's side. Police added that Jenkins was driving too fast for the conditions.
"He did a great thing trying to help out someone he didn't even know," said Herron's grandson-in-law Steven Shea.
Soon after, state police said, Herron stopped his vehicle to help Jenkins and with his sons, helped direct traffic in the area. Herron's family said a tractor-trailer traveling on the highway didn't see him, and he had to jump out of the way so he wouldn't get hit.
"It was all Richard could do was to leap over the rail," Shea said. "I don't think he knew how high it was or if he had any other choice."
Jenkins was brought to a local hospital to be treated for lacerations and pain to her left arm, and Herron was brought to a St. Francis Hospital to be evaluated for his injuries. He would later die from them.
"My wife is devastated, our whole family is devastated," Shea said. "It's really a confusing turn of events."
According to family members, Herron was traveling through Connecticut with his sons to a hunting trip in Maine.
Monday was not the first time that Herron, who was in great shape and ran a farm, helped a motorist in trouble. Years ago, he stopped to help the driver of a tractor-trailer whose truck had exploded.
Herron's family said they were planning a funeral for him in Maryland, but a date has not been set.
"He was the strongest, most intelligent man I've ever met in my life," Shea said.
Three lanes in the area were closed to traffic while investigation was being conducted. The lanes reopened at 4:30 a.m.
There is no word if any charged will be filed. The crash is under investigation by state police.
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