Ithaca, N.Y. — Michael Howe was walking down Aurora Street when he saw a tractor trailer come barreling down State Street and jumped — just barely — out of its way.
“Thank God I’m here today,” he said.
At around 4 p.m. Friday, a tractor trailer carrying multiple cars down State Street slammed into Simeon’s Restaurant on the Ithaca Commons. Police have confirmed one person was killed in the crash and three were sent to the hospital. The driver is in police custody.
After jumping out of the way, Howe watched in horror as the truck slammed into the restaurant. He couldn’t get a look at the driver.
“I saw the building come down on top of it, collapse on top of it,” he said of the truck. “Bricks fell off two stories up.”
Howe then acted quickly. He picked up a brick that had fallen and helped break open the windows of Simeon’s to help people escape the wreck.
“There were two people injured coming out. One girl had her face all bloody, the other guy had parts of his face and arm all bloody. His right arm. But they got medical attention so hopefully they’re OK,” Howe said.
Howe said the experience was traumatizing but was heartened he was not alone in rushing into the restaurant to help the victims.
“Literally everybody started flocking to help,” he said. “I’m just glad I could be part of the community and pitch in on that.”