Local News

Good Samaritans Should Consider Their Safety First

Posted November 4, 2003 7:27 a.m. EST

— Six innocent people lost their lives trying to be Good Samaritans in Raleigh Saturday night. They were killed while helping victims of an accident when they were run over by an accused drunk driver.

The accident has a lot of people wondering what they would do in a similar situation or perhaps, what should they do.

Those killed were simply trying to help two drivers involved in an earlier accident.

"I was horrified when I heard the first report on TV Saturday night," said Eric Rodgman of the

University of North Carolina Safety Research Center


Rodgman fears the incident will deter others from helping.

"A lot of folks who might be wavering in terms of being willing to help might say, 'look what happened in that particular crash,' and they may be less likely to get out of their vehicle and try to help in a situation where they could help."

"I don't feel completely comfortable sitting out in the roadway with blue lights on. People hit you," said Lt. Bob Morgan of the Raleigh Police Department.

Morgan said it is easy to get hit at an accident scene and recommends helping only if you can do so safely.

"They should always think of safety their first and not just rush right up to the accident. They should find a safe location to park their car and always bear in mind that the other drivers may not be paying full attention to their driving," Morgan said.

Faris Naji did stop to help Saturday night, but he stayed on the side of the road and avoided getting hit.

"I drove down and made a U-turn. I told my little brother to stay in the car. I came to the first SUV and found out everything here was fine," he said.

Rodgman encourages people to stop and help.

"In some cases individuals and bystanders and Good Samaritans can make an important difference in helping people get off the road," he said.

Police said the first thing to do after witnessing an accident is to call 911.

While there is no law requiring anyone to stop and help, there is a state law protecting Good Samaritans from liability if they do.