Israel stopped to help at a vehicle crash in Jasper NY on November 23
By Andrew Harris
Barbara Rechenberg, owner of the Hann Homestead Inn in Andover NY had just been to her little cousin Jarrid Matteson’s funeral. The well-known first responder had passed away after a long bout with cancer and like most people who knew Matteson, he made an impression on his older cousin.
Leaving her bed and breakfast to travel to her second home outside of Philadelphia, Barbara had a heavy heart and was looking forward the long drive to decompress.
She wasn’t too far outside of Allegany County, somewhere on 417 near Jasper, when she pulled to look for something in her purse.
Barbara recalled a white car passed by her while she was pulled over. She didn’t think anything of it.
About 10 minutes later as she got back on the road, a dramatic scene unfolded. The white car had crashed into an embankment. Barbara didn’t hesitate to stop and get out.
She explained, “I was first on the scene, I got out of the car and couldn’t believe I was the first one there. I thought it was an old accident waiting for a tow truck or something because no one was around. I could hear her music so I ran over and asked if everyone was ok, the front and back windshields were gone and trunk smashed and everything was in the road. I asked her a couple times before she responded with, ‘I’m fine.’ “
Barbara’s cousin Jarrid is still top of mind and instead of being afraid or panicked, she thinks of him and a sense of calm-cool-collected comes over her:
“I was never nervous at all, I just kept thinking this would be nothing for Jarrid and not a big deal at all.”
Jarrid had been part of countless crash rescues and transports over the years, all while he battled cancer.
Barbara immediately called 911 and let the women know she was not alone and help was on the way.
Several big rigs and vehicles had already passed by the scene before Barbara brazenly flagged down the next passing truck. The trucker hopped out and immediately started helping the woman with 911 dispatch on the phone with Barbara. The dispatch operator asked if the woman could get out of the car.
While she was unable to get out herself, Barbara with the help of Israel, gently eased her out of the damaged vehicle. Barbara held the woman, who was a “just a teeny thing,” and assured her that help was coming and that she wasn’t seriously injured. Israel started to help pick up the debris from her crash and the groceries that had scattered all over the road.
The woman, about forty years old was hysterical and explains what happened:
“I was in Wellsville at a dentist appt this morning, I swerved to miss a deer.”
She also confided in Barbara that she was currently battling cancer, lymphoma.
“Now we are both crying and huddled by the side of the road waiting for an ambulance to arrive.”
That wait lasted a very long twenty five minutes in a very rural stretch of Route 417. Israel stayed with them the entire time.
“Israel was such a big help and we have no idea who is is or who he drives for,” explains Barbara.
Do you know who Israel is? Both ladies involved in this scary accident would like to send an extra thanks and make sure his employer knows that they have a great guy driving for them.
Can you help locate Israel ? If not please share with friends because it is a small world afterall……
Learn more about Barbara’s bed and breakfast in Andover NY and read John Anderson’s tribute to the life of Jarrid Matteson: