Golden Gate Bridge tragedy could have been worse

A quick-thinking truck driver prevented a serious traffic hazard on the Golden Gate Bridge on Tuesday morning when he towed a Jeep containing an unconscious driver to safety amid a busy morning commute, according to the California Highway Patrol.

A 62-year-old Tiburon woman apparently passed out while driving her Jeep Grand Cherokee southbound on bridge lanes about 6:50 a.m., the CHP said.

Mill Valley resident John Beatty was driving behind the Jeep and noticed it was moving slower than the flow of traffic. He drove up to the right side of the vehicle and saw the woman slumped on her steering wheel.

Beatty took bold and immediate action. He drove his Ford F-350 Super Duty utility truck in front of the Jeep and allowed it to essentially crash into the backof his vehicle so it would latch on, according to bridge officials. He then “slowly and safely” guided the Jeep across the bridge’s southbound lanes and brought it to rest in a safe area, away from the flow of traffic.

“He accomplished this while numerous other motorists, oblivious to the emergency, passed,” the CHP said in a statement.

Officers said the woman had apparently suffered a medical condition that caused her to lose consciousness. Emergency crews transported her to California Pacific Medical Center, where she later died. The cause of her death is unknown.

The CHP and bridge officials said if it wasn’t for Beatty, this morning’s traffic tragedy could have been much worse.

“Due to the action of this Good Samaritan, a potentially worse situation was averted and we are all thankful for that aspect of the traffic incident this morning,” said bridge manager Kary Witt.

The bridge’s southbound lanes were closed for about 15 minutes. Lanes of the highway were cleared at 7:15 a.m. and traffic began moving normally about 8 a.m., the CHP said.

— Bay City News

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