CLEVELAND (AP) — Gerald Gronowski thinks he may owe his life to the second intervention of a Good Samaritan — the same man who helped him once before, eight years ago.

Christopher Manacci recently stopped to help Gronowski, whose van was pulled off on the side of a road with a flat tire east of Cleveland. Moments after Manacci parked his 2006 Lexus behind Gronowski’s van, which was pulling a boat on a trailer, a pickup driven by an allegedly drunken driver rammed Manacci’s car and then skidded on two wheels past the two men and Gronowski’s son.

After the men stopped shaking over the close escape, Gronowski reminisced about another Good Samaritan who helped him years ago.

“I told the story about how I was fishing and I got a triple hook embedded deep into my hand,” Gronowski told The Plain Dealer.

“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 continued. “The odds of that happening are astronomical. Now I know it’s my job to repay this by helping someone else.”

Gronowski said he’ll never forget standing on the shoulder with his 15-year-old son Kevin and Manacci looking at the flat tire when the truck narrowly missed them.

“It was up on the two left wheels and the right wheels were off the ground when it missed us by a few feet,” he said. “If the truck had not hit the other car first it would have hit us. We could have been killed. And if it missed us, it could have killed someone else.”

Manacci, director of the Dorothy Ebersbach Academic Center for Flight Training and Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, said he first spotted Gronowski about 10:30 p.m. and knew he was in trouble. Gronowski had been fishing nearby and damaged his tire pulling his boat out of the water.

Moments later, the truck hit Manacci’s car.

“I consider what happened a miracle,” Manacci said. “I was able to prevent a tragedy. I worked as a nurse or nurse practitioner for 30 years helping people. This time I was able to prevent a tragedy from happening. I liked the car, but I’m not upset about losing it this way.”

As the two men parted, Gronowski said he wanted to get together with Manacci to thank him for rescuing him a second time.

He offered to take him out fishing.

“I told him my limit was rescuing someone twice in a lifetime, but I would like to get together with him,” Manacci said. “But considering the bad luck he’s had while fishing, I suggested we go bowling instead.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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