Couple narrowly avoided pileup on Hwy. 41/45 thanks to Good Samaritan

GERMANTOWN (WITI) -- A day after a huge pileup shut down Highway 41/45, a woman who was in the middle of it is thanking a stranger for helping to keep her and her husband safe.

The man, who has not been identified, was trying to warn other drivers of the danger ahead. If it wasn't for him, Von Cooley believes she and her husband would have been in the massive pileup that took out dozens of cars, and left a Franklin man dead.

"Suddenly, it became just a whiteout condition," Cooley said.

DOT video released on Monday, December 9th shows the chaos that began on 41/45 SB near Lannon Road in Germantown on Sunday.

"We could not see more than two feet in front of us," Cooley said.

Bruce Becker was headed southbound on the freeway near Lannon when he had to take action.

"Cars were traveling. Some lost control ahead of us. We just headed for the ditch to avoid hitting them," Becker said.

Cooley says the weather conditions worsened seemingly instantly, and that's when something caught her eye.

"Suddenly, we saw a Caucasian male and he was jumping up and down, waving his hands. I immediately let down the window like 'what's going on?' He kept saying 'stop, stop,'" Cooley said.

As Cooley's husband slowed down, the man's warning and the situation in front of them became clear.

"Right before us was just, it appeared to be a truck on top of a car, a car under an SUV. Vehicles were facing us, turned over," Cooley said.

Zachary Zander's car was totaled in the pileup, but he walked away uninjured.

"Everybody just started bouncing off each other. Just a little rattled. Had to get out and make sure everybody else was okay too," Zander said.

That's what the Cooleys think the man who warned them was doing as well.

"The guy running down the highway, he put his life on the line, you know, for a lot of people. We were concerned about him. We hope he`s okay and he`s in our prayers. He's our Guardian Angel and had we not seen him, we would have went right into it," Cooley said.

Despite the heroics, Germantown police on Monday reiterated the importance of staying in your vehicle if and when you are involved in a crash.

"It's a scary situation because there's no good place for them to go. I was amazed that we did not have someone injured because of the result of being outside the vehicle," Germantown Police Captain Mike Snow said.