STRAWBERRY PLAINS, Tenn. (WATE) — The Schotter family turned to social media hoping to find a good Samaritan who helped their husband and father after he was in a crash.
Krissy Schotter said her husband, Mark Schotter, was driving along Old Dandridge Pike, also known as State Road 139, early Monday morning when a vehicle crossed the center line and hit her husband’s truck.
The crash happened around 6:30 a.m. on the two-lane road.
Schotter said it was still dark and a little foggy that morning.
“That was one of the first things that my husband said to me, like, ‘this guy’s been awesome, he’s been here. He’s got these strobe lights on the front of his truck and he’s directing traffic,'” Schotter said.
Before first responders arrived, Schotter said another driver pulled over to help.
He checked on the people inside the vehicles to make sure they were okay, and then he started directing traffic.
“He pulled over on the side of the road in front of where my husband’s truck was, and turned his strobe lights on and stayed there for over an hour just directing traffic and keeping people from you know, flying around the curve and possibly running into cars going around my husband’s truck, or even running into my husband’s truck,” Schotter said.
She wasn’t there at that moment, but was on her way with her children in tow.
By the time she got to the crash scene, Jefferson County deputies were already there, but the man was still helping.
“God planned for him to be there to help out and I’m sure that he caused something, that he prevented something worse from happening. He was definitely a guardian angel to my husband and to us that morning,” Schotter said.
She only got a glimpse of him, and her husband was barely able to thank him before the good samaritan left.
Schotter later posted on Facebook, hoping to find this man so she and her family could thank him properly.
“I didn’t even know like if he lives in Sevierville, in the same city that we do, or or if he lives closer to Jefferson County. But, I just decided to post on Facebook with the picture that we had from the accident showing his truck just to see if anybody knew who he was because we did want to reach out and thank him,” Schotter said.
Sure enough, the people on Facebook helped.
“His name is Michael Leonard and I’ve talked to him a couple of times on Facebook, and he’s just a super-nice dude. He’s one of those people that if he can help, he’s going to,” Schotter said.
Michael Leonard said he was actually running late to work Monday when he came across the crash.
He doesn’t usually run late, which is why he says he knows God wanted him to be there in that moment as well.
“I got out and ran to the vehicle to make sure everybody was fine,” Leonard said.
Leonard said he usually drives Old Dandridge Pike every day.
He said with cars speeding and some heavy traffic, the road could get pretty hectic, so he knew he needed to warn oncoming traffic.
“They’d probably get within a hundred foot, a couple of cars, and it’s like they wasn’t trying to slow down. You know, I didn’t get in their way or nothing, but I tried to make it obvious, ‘hey you know, we got a situation here,'” Leonard said.
Leonard said he comes from a family of first responders, and was a junior first responder himself in the past.
With that experience, plus flagging traffic at former construction jobs, he knew how to direct vehicles safely.
Leonard said the reason why he didn’t leave after the deputies arrived was so they could focus on helping the drivers and vehicles in the crash get taken care of and wouldn’t have to worry about traffic.
He said he was surprised to see the Facebook post about him, because he tries to help anyone who needs a hand.
“I was just glad I was able to be of help to them families and stuff because it can be anybody’s family, my family or anybody and I would hope somebody would do the same thing,” Leonard said.
Leonard said he did appreciate the Schotters family for reaching out to thank him.
Schotter’s daughter Elanor also had a message for Leonard.
“Thank you for helping my daddy,” Elanor said.
According to the crash report, no one was injured, but both vehicles involved were totaled.
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