Good Samaritan stops to help man hit, killed by car; suspect appears in court

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David Gitro spoke with FOX 46 about what happened when he stopped to help the victim of a fatal pedestrian accident on I-77 on Saturday. 

A good Samaritan stopped to help a man who was hit and killed on I-77 near exit 19 Saturday night, and in a Facebook post he says shockingly, he was the only driver out of hundreds to stop. 

“I was the only one who stopped that night. I'm sure there were other people on that road who could have stopped and may have had more medical training than I have. They may have seen something that could have helped him, but by the time I got there-- 20 cars later-- it was too late."

Dan Gitro, who runs Iredell County Firewire, he and his family were heading back home after a day in the Queen City when they noticed several people braking hard, and smoke coming billowing up into the air.

Gitro continued driving, until he saw the victim laying on the ground. He says he was not far behind the vehicle that struck a man. He immediately called 911, but being a trained first responder, says he believed the victim had already died by the time he got over to him. 

"I have to be honest, I have lived in this area for 5 years. I lost a bit of respect for the people in this area Saturday night," Gitro wrote in the Facebook post. 

A CMPD officer arrived on scene within five minutes, Gitro says. The officer began directing traffic as both men realized cars were not slowing down near the accident. 

"I can't believe I was the only on who stopped, and I can't believe the vehicles that continued to fly through the area at the time," Gitro said. 

He says the accident happened in the construction zone on I-77, which can often be a tight squeeze. Highway Patrol says the victim, Franklin Donaldson, was putting gas in his car when he was hit. He rolled over and was found laying in the left lane on the three-lane stretch of highway. 

"From where his vehicle was and where he landed was 100-150 feet by my estimation."

He says the scene was "very sad and gory," with body parts strewn across the highway. 

'How would you feel if this was your loved one? How would you feel if people couldn't take the time to slow down so they didn't run over body parts of your loved one?" Gitro questioned. 

He says he was dismayed by the way people behaved at the scene, and how they were willing to risk not on the scene, but his life as well of that of the officer who stopped to direct traffic. 

"I can't imagine driving through a scene and not stopping," Gitro said. "I can't imagine leaving someone on the side of the road like that." 

Now, he's encouraging others to be more careful, kind and courteous when it comes to driving and dealing with potentially dangerous situations. 

"Slow down, be courteous to other people." 

Gitro says he later found out that the driver, Terrence Blanks, was arrested for DUI.

"I spoke with the driver of the other vehicle. He said he had struck him after swerving to the right. I had no idea he was under the influence. He wasn't slurring his words at the time,” said Gitro. 

Blanks appeared in court on Tuesday.