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Tesla driver joins group of highway heroes who saved others’ lives in runaway car

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The German driver who used his Tesla last week to save another driver’s life joined a select group of highway heroes by intercepting the second driver’s runaway vehicle on the highway.

What’s amazing is not only that the Tesla driver pulled off a feat best left to stunt drivers but – to judge from a quick Google search —  so have a surprising number of others that these days are also liable to be captured on footage taken by dash cams and smartphones.

In last week’s event, Manfred Kick, 41, saw another vehicle driving unusually slowly on the Autobahn near Munich last Monday. The driver, who apparently had suffered a stroke, was slumped over the wheel and unconscious. Kick maneuvered his Tesla in front of the other car and then braked to a halt.

“I felt as if I were in a movie,” Kick told the Muenchner Merkur.

Kick’s highway daring wasn’t captured on video. But his story traveled far and wide, and he was rewarded for his quick thinking with a promise of free and speedy repairs by Tesla’s co-founder and chief executive, Elon Musk.

In recent years, the list of people who risked their lives stopping runaway vehicles include a British truck driver who first interposed his rig between a runaway car and other motorists after the car’s driver suffered a seizure, and then veered in front of the vehicle to halt it; a British police officer  who saved the lives of a woman and her child after shunting her out-of-control vehicle into a barrier; and a Massachusetts mortgage broker who rammed a runaway SUV and took it off the highway into a guard rail after seeing that the other vehicle’s driver had passed out.

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission has given several awards for bravery over the years to people who used their vehicles to slow or disable runaway vehicles on a highway — including a 55-year-old Pennsylvania man who used his dump truck to slow a tractor trailer that lost its brakes near Scranton in 1978.

In one of the most recent instances, the commission recognized William Driscoll, of Middleboro, Mass, for his split-second decision to halt a vehicle traveling 45 miles per hour on a two-lane highway near Lakeville, Mass. more than two years ago.

“Honestly, it was just instinctual,” Driscoll told the The Enterprise of Brookline, Mass. “I saw he was approaching several oncoming cars.”

Driscoll told the newspaper that at first he thought the other driver was distracted. But after pulling alongside in his pickup, Driscoll could see that the driver was slumped over the wheel and heading into oncoming traffic. Driscoll, then 36, sped ahead and pinned the SUV to a guardrail. The other driver could not be revived and later died at a hospital.

So such feats aren’t just the stuff of Hollywood – and they’re not even confined to motor vehicles. Among the other heroes recognized by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission was an Arkansas man who spurred his horse to try to overtake another rider on a runaway horse galloping toward a moving freight train in 1936. The runaway horse was killed, but both riders escaped without injury.

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