HINCKLEY TWP. — An octogenarian Parma couple was rescued from their flooding vehicle during Monday evening’s torrential downpours.
And the good Samaritan who helped them has done it before.
Jim Melillo, of Medina Township, was driving through Hinckley Township headed to his friend’s home in North Royalton when he found there was no safe way through. Deciding to turn back, the 60-year-old Melillo came across Paul and Donna Supan stuck in their vehicle.
“When I was about to make a turn to get onto Route 3, I noticed a couple headlights under water,” Melillo said. “And that’s when I saw an old man crying for help.”
Melillo, a contractor who runs Dependable Maintenance LLC, stopped his company van and jumped from the driver’s seat.
“By this point, the water is between your waist and breast,” he said. “And it’s just pouring down rain.”
He said he waded through the water to the vehicle, where he told the couple one by one to take him by the neck so he could get them to his van. Once he got one across, he went back for the other.
“The water just kept getting deeper and deeper,” he said. “It was so high — it was up to the car’s windows.”
If not for his quick thinking, Melillo said the Supans may have faced hypothermia or possibly drowning if the water continued to rise.
Once the couple was safe inside his van, he took them to his home and wrapped them in blankets while they waited for their family to get them.
It wasn’t the first time Melillo was in the right place at the right time, either. In 2009, he was honored with several awards after he saved a woman’s life by pulling a burning car off the woman’s vehicle with his truck in Medina Township.
The two men in the burning vehicle were suspected to have been drinking and were pronounced dead at the crash scene.
Read more stories from The Gazette’s ‘Flooding, Rescues and Heroes’ package
Melillo said he came across the scene and opted to help while rescue workers were en route. Once they arrived, he left and didn’t think anything of it.
Despite helping to rescue at least three people in five years, Melillo remained humble.
“I just think I’m just lucky to be in the right place at the right time,” he said. “I do what I can. That’s it.”