YORK TWP. — Litchfield Township firefighter Jamie Madigan is still recovering from an off-duty good deed in January that resulted in him being hit by a car.
Madigan, 35, said his story is evidence that “slow down and move over” should be practiced whenever drivers see a vehicle pulled to the side of the road.
He wasn’t in uniform on Jan. 14 when he spotted a broken-down Chevrolet Blazer on U.S. Route 42 south near Remsen Road in Medina Township where the posted speed limit is 45 mph.
“Ten cars didn’t stop, and it made me mad,” he said. “I’m on the Fire Department, so my first thought was maybe she was hurt or had a heart attack.”
Madigan stopped to help.
The 53-year-old driver was safe, but half of the sport utility vehicle was sticking out in the roadway. Madigan pushed the bumper, attempting to move it into a driveway, but it wouldn’t budge.
“She said she couldn’t get it in neutral, so I walked to the front by the dashboard. She was so nervous she forgot to push the brake in. We laughed about that for a minute,” he said.
Seconds later, the SUV was hit by a Chevy Caprice driven by a 19-year-old woman. The impact caused the Blazer to spin 180 degrees and slam into Madigan, according to a police report.
Madigan said witnesses told him he flew 7 feet in the air before landing 10 feet away.
The driver of the Blazer was injured when her head hit the steering wheel, the police report said.
“I landed in the snow, so that saved me,” he said. “In fact, if she wouldn’t have called me to the front of the car, I would have been standing right where the girl hit, so I’m really, really lucky.”
Medina Township police officer Matt Ventura said the driver of the Caprice was eating at the time of the accident. Food was “scattered about the vehicle” after the crash, he said.
The Caprice driver, who was not injured, later was found guilty of an assured clear distance charge in Medina Municipal Court and ordered to pay $313 in fines and court costs.
Madigan was taken to Medina Hospital with a broken fibula in his right leg and a torn meniscus in both knees. He waited until March 1 for his broken leg to heal and before having surgery on his right knee.
Stress as a result of his accident caused his diverticulitis to worsen, he said, and he will have a portion of his intestine removed. On March 20, he will have surgery to repair his left knee.
Madigan, a Norwalk Road resident, has been unable to work since the accident. He is married and has four kids.
“It’s been a real setback,” he said. As a construction worker for Great Lakes Construction Co., he said he has witnessed the dangers of inattentive driving.
“I see every day people putting on makeup, texting or eating while they’re driving,” he said. “People need to pay attention.”
Ohio law requires motorists to move over or slow down when approaching emergency vehicles with their lights activated. The Ohio Highway Patrol has a campaign called “Move Over and Slow Down” to emphasize the importance of the law.
Madigan said he hopes his experience will do the same.
“I was afraid she would get hit, and sure enough,” he said. “I figured I’d stop to help and be on my way home in three minutes.”
Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.