Deputies: Three Good Samaritans help stop drunk driver

Updated: 02/25/2014 6:20 PM
Created: 02/25/2014 6:18 AM WHEC.com
By: Amanda Ciavarri

An Avon man is in jail and three Good Samaritans are credited with putting him there.

Livingston County Sheriff's Deputies say Paul Kostraba was swerving his minivan on 390 in Avon Monday night. Witnesses say he side-swiped a semi and kept driving. Deputies say by the time they caught up with the minivan, three other people had blocked his car at an off-ramp exit. We're told Kostraba tried to ram his way through, hitting two other cars.

Kostraba was charged with DWI and reckless endangerment. Sheriff’s deputies say he hit a tractor trailer with his wife and dog inside.

News10NBC spoke with two woman, both who helped block the van so that the driver couldn’t drive off before police arrived. One woman didn’t want to show her face, but she did say she felt she had to do something before someone was killed. 

News10NBC was connected with the witnesses with the help of Kimberly and Beck from 98.9 the Buzz.

It was the last thing the drivers thought they would see on I-390 south Monday around 2:00 p.m.  

“It was very scary because we were afraid someone was going to get seriously hurt. We didn’t know how we were going to stop the minivan.”

Brianna Cole said, “There was a car that was flying by me, probably going 90, around the Thruway exit, going 390 South and the lane ends there so he was off the shoulder passing an 18 wheeler that’s how fast he was going. About a mile down the road, all of the sudden, I find out it’s the same vehicle and now we are going 50 miles per hour and he is going from one side of the road, off the shoulder to the other side of the road off the shoulder. “

But what happened next Briana Cole says was the scariest part. The minivan sideswiped a tractor-trailer.

“At first, we thought there was something wrong with the driver and they were trying to find another spot to pull off the road. Then the driver continued down the road, at which point, the driver of the truck I was in pulled up beside the minivan and neither the driver nor the passenger looked coherent at that point or even conscience.”

Then what happened undoubtedly saved lives. That truck was able to guide the van to the off ramp, pull in front of the van, hoping as it rear-ended the truck, the driver would wake up.

“When the driver of the minivan rear-ended the truck, I was in he didn't even open his eye, and his head was still slouched over.”

The truck was able to slow the van down to a stop and that's when Cole pulled behind, blocking the van in until police could arrive. Cole says she physically had to put the van in park.

Both witnesses say they saw two bottles of vodka in the front passenger seat, one empty and one full.

Cole said, “Normally, all this happens at night after the bars close that drunk drivers are on the roads, but that’s not true, they are out there all the time and it was very scary.”

The sheriff in Livingston County applauds the brave actions of these good Samaritans, but also says they never encourage anyone putting themselves in danger. But one thing these ladies made clear is they really felt something had to be done or something much worse would have happened.

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