TEMPLE —The family of a Killeen man who escaped with his life Thursday after an 18-wheeler drove across the front of his new blue Corvette on a Temple highway frontage road is seeking a man who helped him.
Gerald Helmandollar, who had no lasting physical injuries, escaped the accident with only pain and bad memories, according to his wife, Cynthia.
Gerald picked up the Corvette Thursday that he bought in Bellmead. He’d driven it less than 45 minutes into Temple when, at about 10:30 a.m., an 18-wheeler made a sharp left turn — from the wrong traffic lane. The back wheels of the cab went across his car, and then the front wheels of the trailer went over the car, Gerald told Cynthia.
The incident happened at the intersection of South General Bruce Drive and Central Avenue, just off Interstate 35.
A very emotional Gerald called his wife after it happened. When she hung up, Cynthia called 911 to make sure it was reported and headed to the accident scene. When she got there, Gerald was sitting on the concrete barrier that goes around the median. Cynthia walked up to him, hugged him and saw how upset he was, she said.
All Gerald could think was the 18-wheeler’s tires were going to end up in his lap, he told her.
Gerald was hyperventilating, Cynthia said. The ambulance wasn’t there yet, but a Temple Fire & Rescue first responder truck was there. An emergency medical technician took his vitals, and she said Gerald looked like he would pass out.
The EMTs sat him in their truck to cool him down until an ambulance arrived.
The truck driver didn’t stop after driving over the Corvette, Gerald told his wife. Instead, it continued on its way.
That’s when the driver of a Jeep, who looked to be a young man in his 20s, drove next to Gerald’s car and asked if Gerald wanted him to go stop the trucker. Then the stranger followed the truck to attempt to stop it, Cynthia said.
“The ‘Jeep guy’ caught the trucker, told him he had run over the Corvette and was able to get the trucker to make the block and come back,” Cynthia said.
The Temple Police Department accident report wasn’t ready Tuesday, Cynthia said.
Search for the Good Samaritan
The Helmandollars want to give their thanks to that young man.
“We are thankful there are still good people out there who will do things like that,” Cynthia said. “We just want to tell him ‘thank you’ or buy him a coffee — or a steak dinner. People who do things like this need to be recognized.”
“We can laugh about it now, but what else can you do? At the time it was anything but funny,” she said.
Gerald is still very sore but he is recovering, Cynthia said.
The Corvette is at their home in Killeen and they haven’t heard from the driver’s insurance company — if he had insurance — according to Helmandollar.
The truck driver was issued a moving violation for an improper turn, Temple Police spokeswoman Ellen Morton said Tuesday. However, she didn’t have information that gave a clear description of what occurred because the full report wasn’t ready.
An officer was dispatched at about 10:52 a.m. to the accident scene, and Temple Fire & Rescue and EMS responded, according to Morton.
“We don’t know anything at this point. That’s the next chapter,” Cynthia said.