Man Breaks Hand to Save Blacked-Out Driver

Out-of-control truck rolls through parking lot after driver passes out

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Hazem Saleh explains what happened when he and several others had to spring into action to stop an out of control pickup truck in the parking lot at a little league game in Arlington. (Published Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012)

    A man broke his hand to help another father who blacked out behind the wheel of an out-of-control truck at an Arlington park earlier this month.

    Clint Rudd, 37, passed out while leaving his son's T-ball game at the Martin Luther King Jr. Sports Center.

    "I started to pull out of the parking spot and started feeling nauseous and light-headed," he said. "By the time I got to the exit, I knew something was wrong and was going to park in a spot by the entrance. When I pulled into the spot, I went to back up so that I was straight, and that's when I blacked out."

    Rudd had a seizure. The truck, which was still in gear, reversed about 50 yards through the parking lot before finally crashing into parked vehicle.

    Hazem Saleh, vice president of the South West Arlington Little League, was watching a game.

    "A 10-year-old boy ran up from the parking lot and said there was an accident in the parking lot and they needed some medics," he said.

    Saleh, an information systems analyst with some CPR training, ran to the parking lot. People were screaming and still in shock, he said.

    One woman was trying to break through the truck window with a chair.

    "I made my way to the truck, punched the window with my left hand, [and] the window broke," he said.

    His hand also broke, but he didn't realize it until later because of his soaring adrenaline.

    "I don't know what I was thinking," Saleh said. "I just knew we needed to get in the truck."

    He used a bat to clear out the remaining glass. Saleh said he wishes he had the bat before he punched the window but said he he would do it again if he had to.

    Saleh shifted the truck into park, turned off the engine and got Rudd out of the vehicle.

    By then, several others, including an off-duty police officer, were there to help while paramedics were on the way.

    "It truly was a group effort," Saleh said. "Everybody played an important role, from the 10-year-old boy to the 911 dispatcher to everyone else who helped."

    Rudd said he is grateful to Saleh and everyone else who helped.

    "Words cannot express my thanks to everyone that helped me," he said. "So many people stepped up that day to help someone they didn't even know. There were many heroes that day that I feel saved my life, but Hazem went above and beyond."

    Saleh said he has learned to always be ready because anything could happen at any time -- and how to break windows.

    "When it comes to a vehicle that's locked and you're at a baseball park, use a bat, not your hand," he said.