Real Name: Unknown
Case: Lost Rescuer
Location: Summerfield, Florida
Date: September 7, 1995
Details: At around dusk on September 7, 1995, forty-eight-year-old Wilma Drew was driving home along a four-lane highway near Ocala, Florida, when a vehicle entered it going the wrong way. It struck her head-on and both vehicles were severely damaged. David Vittitow was driving behind Wilma and witnessed the accident; he pulled off to the side of the road to try and help her and the others. The driver and passenger of the wrong-way vehicle seemed to be moving, but Wilma was not. She was pinned in her car, the steering column wedged against her chest. Her driver side window was opened, but the other windows and doors were jammed. David went back to his car to get a tool to pry the door open. Another passerby, Matthew White, also tried to help. Neither of them knew that Wilma's neck had been broken, cutting off her airway; she was suffocating.
David tried to flag down help, and eventually, a tanker truck stopped. Fortunately, the driver apparently knew what to do in the situation. He brought a pick axe, which Matthew used to break the passenger back window open. The truck driver then climbed into the back seat, reached over, and held Wilma's head up. Matthew and David tried to lift the steering column off of her chest. Meanwhile, the truck driver kept her neck still.
Ten minutes after the accident, the ambulance arrived. The paramedic told the truck driver that he had to get out of the car, but he said that he would not leave until Wilma had a brace around her neck. Once it was there, he left the car. He then drove away from the scene without telling anyone his name.
Wilma's husband, Bill, arrived at the scene moments later. He assumed that she had been killed, but he was told that she had survived. It would take eleven operations and nearly a year to repair the damage. Her right leg had nearly been torn in half, her left ankle was shattered, her brain stem was so damaged that it caused permanent double vision, and the C2 vertebrae in her neck was completely severed.
According to Wilma's neurosurgeon, the truck driver saved her life that day; had he moved her neck or done anything differently, she could have been killed. She and her family now want to find him and thank him for saving her life.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the May 22, 1998 episode.
Results: Solved. The truck driver, a former EMT, saw himself on the broadcast and contacted the telecenter. He was overjoyed to learn that Wilma was alive and well. She was finally able to thank him for saving her life.