Crash victim unites with passerby who helped her - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Crash victim unites with passerby who helped her


MADISON (WKOW) -- A Cottage Grove woman's rescue from her overturned SUV on a slippery highway was spearheaded by a passerby, who spent thirty minutes bracing her head and neck to try to prevent spinal injury, as they waited for paramedics.

"It was a blessing," crash victim Karen Fleury tells 27 News.

Fleury says her 2002 Nissan Exterra fish tailed as she tried to exit I-90/94 at the County highway N exit Friday afternoon during a period of freezing rain. Fleury says her vehicle flipped onto its passenger side, with her seat belt restraining her from tumbling to the bottom of the car.

Army National Guard Sergeant John Scheffler says he drove up to Fleury crashed car and realized quickly he was the first potential help to arrive.

"He jumped right in next to me, held by hand, so I wouldn't turn my neck and held it," Fleury tells 27 News. "Held it the whole time."

Floury says her head injury was difficult to cope with. "Just excruciating pain," Fleury says.

Scheffler, 24, tells 27 News he braced Fleury for more than thirty minutes while waiting for paramedics to arrive.

"There were a couple of times it seemed like she wanted to cry, kind of lost it," Scheffler says. "I just kind of reassured her, it was going to be okay, that soon she was going to be in a warm hospital bed." 

Fleury says there was no exchange of full names between herself and her rescuer before an ambulance whisked her to UW Hospital, where she was treated until Saturday evening. "I think I gave him a hug, that's all I can remember."

27 News was able to locate Scheffler. He works at Joint Forces Headquarters on Wright Street, and served a deployment to Iraq for nine months.

Scheffler says while his deployment involved constant focus on critical tasks, his decision to help Fleury was the product of a family trait.

"I would say my instinct to do that was probably instilled in me by my parents," Scheffler tells 27 News. "If you see someone who needs help, you help them."

Fleury suffered a concussion, and bruises to her upper and lower body.

27 News Monday helped unite Fleury and Scheffler at Fleury's Cottage Grove home.

Rescuer and victim hugged once again.

"I feel so thankful," Fleury says. "There's not enough words to thank him."


 MADISON (WKOW) -- A Cottage Grove woman who suffered a concussion and other injuries when her SUV slid and flipped over in a crash on icy highway 90/94, credits an unidentified passerby with keeping her stable, as she remained pinned inside the vehicle.

With the SUV coming to rest on its passenger side Friday at the Highway N exit, Karen Fleury says her seat belt was the only thing keeping her from tumbling to the bottom of the crashed truck. Fleury says a man in military fatigues was able to maneuver into her vehicle, and then carefully but firmly hold her head and neck to prevent any possible spinal chord complications.

Fleury say the man helped her until paramedics arrived, but there was no exchange of full names, as Fleury was taken by ambulance to UW Hospital.

27 News discovered the Good Samaritan is a soldier, as Fleury's relatives used social media to try to find out more about him.

Tonight in 27 News at 6, this humble rescuer reunites with the woman he helped during Friday's dangerous rain, sleet and ice.

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