Man who rescued woman from overturned car in Manayunk hopes others would do the same for his family

A Philadelphia Water Department employee made a heroic move this month by rescuing a woman from her overturned car in Manayunk. 

According to police, the incident happened on Aug. 1 when the driver of a 2006 Ford Explorer traveling northbound on the 4500 block of Manayunk Avenue attempted to make a left turn onto the 300 block of Leverington Avenue, striking a 2009 Nissan Quest. 

Upon impact, the woman driving the Nissan swerved, went up a grassy embankment flipping the car on its roof. That is when partners Larry Thompson and Reuben Ball realized what was going on.

Thompson said they were doing inlet cleaning at a nearby property when they heard the sound of a car hitting something. They both ran around their work truck and saw the car flipping over.

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“I watched her flip upside down, I could see her facial expression, her hands going up in the air and whatever was in her seat going in the air and turning over,” said Thompson who said that he felt that she was looking at him the whole time. “I saw her drop when she let her seat belt go.”

Once the car was stationary, both partners ran to the car attempting to break the windows on both the passenger and driver side. Thompson, who went to the driver side of the vehicle, was able to break through. Ball began directing traffic to ensure that nobody drove on the opposite side, out her of fear that the situation could have gotten a lot worse.

‘It wasn’t a thought’

Thompson said the unidentified woman, who he describes as a white woman in her 30s, was scrambling to figure out how to get out of her car. During that time, he tried to calm her down by telling her to “back up, calm down and let me finish breaking all the glass out.”

Since the woman was focused on getting out of the car and not realizing the danger of the broken glass, Thompson said he grabbed a blanket and helped her crawl out trying not to scratch her skin on the glass. He also said he used an article of clothing, which he believes was a sweater, and wrapped her head and neck so she wouldn’t scratch her back.

“Larry was really the hero in this one, but he may be trying to be modest. He was quicker than I was and he went exactly where she was able to be retrieved,” said Ball. “Larry is definitely the hero in the case and to see him react that way, wasn’t surprising, but was a good thing to see.”

Ball said Thompson went above and beyond to assist the woman by giving her towels and wipes out of their truck so that she could clean herself up. 

After the rescue, Thompson said he sat her on the sidewalk away from the car. During that time, the woman began mumbling different phrases stating that she had just dropped off her two-year-old baby. Thompson estimates that emergency personnel showed up about two minutes after the rescue.

“It wasn’t a thought; I just wanted to get her out of the car,” said Thompson. “I figured I only had a few seconds to get her out [of] the car and my thoughts were hurry up and get her out of the car in case the car blows up. I would hope that someone would do the same thing for my fiancé or my mom.”

A proud mom 

His mother, Betty Thompson, is how NewsWorks learned about the great display of heroism. After hearing the news, she began telling everyone she knew.

“It’s one thing for your mom to pat you on the back, but we need to know about what’s going on in the city and not all that negative stuff,” said Betty, who said her year has been filled with various tragedies. “For me this is really great news and I want to share the great news.”

Police said the woman suffered minor injuries and was transported to Temple University. The driver of the other vehicle had no injuries. According to police, no charges have been filed for either of the drivers. 

“I am hoping that she is alright,” said Thompson. “I am just glad that me and my partner was working on that block that day and was able to help her.”

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