Gerald Gronowski of Parma said he pulled his van over to the side of an Auburn Township road Saturday evening to fix a flat and Christopher Manacci of Chagrin Falls pulled his car up behind the vehicle to offer his assistance, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported Thursday.
Gronowski said an out-of-control pickup truck hit Manacci's car moments later, narrowly missing the two men and Gronowski's son.
"His actions probably saved those people's lives," Ohio State Patrol Lt. Mark Neff said of Manacci.
The driver of the truck, Joseph Pawlowski of Burton was charged with drunken driving and treated at a local hospital.
Gronowski said the close call got him talking about an encounter with a helpful man eight years ago.
"I told the story about how I was fishing and I got a triple hook embedded deep into my hand," Gronowski said. "I was in a lot of pain and my son asked if anyone was a doctor and this guy paddles up in a kayak. He was a nurse practitioner and he surgically removed the hook from my hand. Chris looked at me and said, 'That was me.'"
"And then I recognized him," Gronowski said. "The odds of that happening are astronomical. Now I know it's my job to repay this by helping someone else."
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