Couple narrowly avoided pileup on Hwy. 41/45 thanks to Good Samaritan

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GERMANTOWN (WITI) -- A day after a huge pileup shut down Highway 41/45, a woman who was in the middle of it is thanking a stranger for helping to keep her and her husband safe.

The man, who has not been identified, was trying to warn other drivers of the danger ahead. If it wasn't for him, Von Cooley believes she and her husband would have been in the massive pileup that took out dozens of cars, and left a Franklin man dead.

"Suddenly, it became just a whiteout condition," Cooley said.

DOT video released on Monday, December 9th shows the chaos that began on 41/45 SB near Lannon Road in Germantown on Sunday.

"We could not see more than two feet in front of us," Cooley said.

Bruce Becker was headed southbound on the freeway near Lannon when he had to take action.

"Cars were traveling. Some lost control ahead of us. We just headed for the ditch to avoid hitting them," Becker said.

Cooley says the weather conditions worsened seemingly instantly, and that's when something caught her eye.

"Suddenly, we saw a Caucasian male and he was jumping up and down, waving his hands. I immediately let down the window like 'what's going on?' He kept saying 'stop, stop,'" Cooley said.

As Cooley's husband slowed down, the man's warning and the situation in front of them became clear.

"Right before us was just, it appeared to be a truck on top of a car, a car under an SUV. Vehicles were facing us, turned over," Cooley said.

Zachary Zander's car was totaled in the pileup, but he walked away uninjured.

"Everybody just started bouncing off each other. Just a little rattled. Had to get out and make sure everybody else was okay too," Zander said.

That's what the Cooleys think the man who warned them was doing as well.

"The guy running down the highway, he put his life on the line, you know, for a lot of people. We were concerned about him. We hope he`s okay and he`s in our prayers. He's our Guardian Angel and had we not seen him, we would have went right into it," Cooley said.

Despite the heroics, Germantown police on Monday reiterated the importance of staying in your vehicle if and when you are involved in a crash.

"It's a scary situation because there's no good place for them to go. I was amazed that we did not have someone injured because of the result of being outside the vehicle," Germantown Police Captain Mike Snow said.


  • Badgers

    If you read the article you would have noticed the witnesses said conditions changed instantly, pretty hard to stop instantly if you don’t have ESP. Obviously this was a freak accident because of unexpected change in visibility.

    Robert – Nice comment too… Clearly we know what side of the bell curve you are on. your grammar needs a little work, were you typing this while driving or something?

    • walter

      Conditions don’t really change instantly. It takes a little time even if its just a few seconds. Anyone paying attention can see the changes taking place ahead of them and drive accordingly.

  • Dawn Robbins

    for thst one car to be speeding the way he was like the street or hwy wasnt coverd and no one was around him or her thats stupid i dont live there but my roads and hwy are the same if my hwy looked like this there is no way i would be driving like these ppl did

  • Lynda Birmantas Beam

    driving too fast for conditions, and also everyone is too close together, you should be leaving a car length for every ten miles of speed, and half again to twice as much when the road conditions are not good

    Really wish police would ticket tailgaters more often

    • Kate Fernstrom

      I agree with you. If people got ticketed more often for the amount of tailgating they do maybe some of them would stop doing it. I cannot stand being tailgated. You don’t know what’s happening in front of me. If I have to stop fast you are in my backseat. No thanks. I always leave 2 one thousands between me and the car in front of me on dry roads (AAA recommendation to gauge stopping distance) and four or five or even more on slick or snow covered roads. And just because you are driving an SUV or big pickup or some ABS minivan it does not mean you’ll be able to stop any faster, as you can see in the video.

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