Good Samaritan: 'I was doing the right thing, and it turned out bad for me'
Posted May 8
Morrisville, N.C. — Jacob McCoy felt he needed to help out when he came upon a a three-vehicle crash on Interstate 40 early Sunday. But he never expected he would become a crime victim.
"I was just doing the right thing, so I thought, and it turned out bad for me," McCoy said Monday.
The crash occurred at about 2 a.m. on westbound Interstate 40 near the Airport Boulevard exit. Juan Martinez was pinned behind the steering wheel of his Honda Accord, which had been hit from behind by a Mercedes SUV, authorities said.
"He was bleeding pretty bad. His legs were crushed pretty bad. I was just helping him out until the ambulance got there," McCoy said.
Then he noticed his Chrysler 200 was missing.
"I was confused. I was alarmed for sure," he said. "I started running towards my car, and then I asked the driver of the Mercedes where his passenger was, and it was at that moment I knew she had taken the car."
McCoy said he was too busy trying to comfort Martinez to see the theft, noting the key fob in his pocket was close enough to his car so the woman could start the engine with the push of a button.
When State Highway Patrol troopers arrived at the crash scene, McCoy told them his car had been stolen.
"I've been doing this for 16 years, and I've never heard of a Good Samaritan becoming a victim providing assistance to others," Trooper William Henning said.
Troopers eventually found the car about 12 miles away at a Durham County gas station and charged Lauren V. Starks, 24, with driving while impaired and possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
Starks is a nurse at Duke University Hospital, but a hospital spokeswoman declined to comment Monday.
"She probably didn't take the best course of action by jumping in a stranger's car. I'm glad she's OK," McCoy said. "All I can say is drinking and driving is a bad idea."
Martinez also was charged with DWI, while Frankie Lee Byrd, 46, the driver of the Mercedes, was charged with DWI, reckless driving and failure to reduce speed.
Despite his car getting dinged in the incident, McCoy said he would stop and help again if he saw another accident in the future.