Friday, August 10, 2007

Good Samaritan's final act

DES MOINES, Iowa -- A central Iowa woman said she saw a Good Samaritan dying two hours after he had helped her fix her flat tire, reported KCCI-TV in Des Moines. Police said Rick Byrkett, 53, of Des Moines, ran northbound across Euclid Avenue and into the path of a truck. Amy Conlin said that Byrkett had spent the last hours of his life helping a stranger.

Conlin was on her way to a friend's house for dinner when she hit a median on the street.

"Right here, right there is where I popped the tire," she said, standing near the spot. Byrkett, who was walking by, stopped to help. "He came up and said, 'You ladies need some help?' I said, 'sure,' and so he changed the tire for me," she said. "He said he enjoys doing nice things for other people so maybe if he's in need, maybe someone will stop and help him out. That's what he said."

Fifteen minutes later, Conlin and Byrkett parted ways. Neither of them knew that two hours later, Conlin would be stopping for Byrkett.

"Yeah, I did stop because I knew. I knew it was him. I knew it was," she said.

Police said Byrkett had been hit by a pickup while crossing the street. Conlin was on her way home and drove through the intersection where the accident happened moments before.

"I yelled his name, and he grunted," she said.

Conlin watched him being loaded into an ambulance. He died later at the hospital. She said she's thankful she had a chance to know him even if it was for only 15 minutes.

"I appreciate what he did for me. You know, take his example and move on with his example to help others," she said.

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