A Montreal man has been hailed as a hero for using his car as a barrier to stop a speeding driver from plowing into a group of pedestrians.
Police in the Quebec city praised the quick thinking of Erick Marciano, who was heading to a meeting in his Mercedes SUV at lunchtime on Tuesday when he saw a car run a red light after its driver had refused a police request to stop.
Marciano, 48, then turned into another street and saw the car was stuck in a snowbank. Officers then drew their guns on its driver, who was able to escape by doing a U-turn.
Erick Marciano was stopped in his SUV when he saw a runaway car go blazing through a red light, followed by police in hot pursuit.— CBC Montreal (@CBCMontreal) November 13, 2019
As the car made a U-turn and sped toward pedestrians, he decided to block the lane, putting himself in danger.
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Heading in the opposite direction at speed, the runaway driver was soon bearing down on a group of pedestrians and construction workers at the corner of René-Lévesque Blvd. and St-Denis St.
That is when Marciano reacted. He first honked his horn to alert the pedestrians and swerved his vehicle over the median strip so it could protect the crowd. The oncoming car hit Marciano's SUV, then came to a stop.
"I didn't want him to hurt anybody. I figured, sacrificing a car was really no big deal. And that's what I did," Marciano told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.
"It came into my mind, I said: 'This isn't going to happen here.'"
"I figured, he had a Honda, and there was no way he was going over the median," he said. "For me, that was the safest thing to do."
Marciano was not injured in the collision. The driver of the speeding car, 19, was taken to hospital with minor injuries, the Montreal Gazette reported.
Police believe he may have been intoxicated. He was arrested on several charges including dangerous driving, failing to stop for police, driving a stolen vehicle and assault with a weapon.
The teenager's mother joined police in thanking Marciano, adding that her son had suffered from mental health problems since he was a child.
Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante tweeted: "I salute the courage of Erick Marciano, whose heroic gesture saved the lives of many pedestrians," adding that, "on behalf of myself and the people of Montreal, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, Mr. Marciano."
The passenger side of Marciano's SUV was heavily damaged, but his insurance company said it will not hold him responsible for the crash.
"What matters is the outcome, and everything's well, and everybody could go home last night," he told CBC.