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Student assists hit-and-run victim

Submitted by Sarah DeClerk on January 31, 2013 – 4:27 pmNo Comment
Joseph Payne Colton

Colton took quick action to assist injured woman

It was a quiet Sunday morning on Kavanaugh Boulevard. Lois Sandusky, 61, was walking home after eating breakfast at Leo’s Greek Castle. Joseph Payne Colton, 20, sophomore biology major, sat in his parked car, about to go to work. These two strangers had no idea that their lives were about to collide.

Sandusky’s walk home was cut short. While she was crossing Beachwood Street, a man in a white Ford pickup struck her with his car and drove away. Sandusky lay immobilized in the street. Colton saw the whole incident and immediately took action.

“When I heard the initial hit it was almost like I went into acting mode,” Colton said. “It was like time stood still and I was just doing what I could.”

While the man drove off, Colton got a description of the truck, its driver and most of the license plate – information that would lead to the suspect’s arrest.

“At that moment it was so quiet,” Colton said. “The first thing that came to mind was that I have to do something now because if I don’t, no good will come out of this situation.”

Colton called 911. Sandusky was still lying in the street, so Colton had a van block the intersection. He would not let anyone move her. Colton tried to reassure the injured woman.

“The first thing I said was, ‘I got the guy. They’re on the way. You’re going to be fine,” he said. Colton also alerted her family. He picked up her phone and started calling every one with the same last name, he said.

“He talked to them calmly and responsibly,” Sandusky said. “He was reassuring, but he was honest.” When the ambulance and police came, Colton spoke to them, as well.

“I felt secure and safer, somewhat grounded, because Payne was in charge of things,” Sandusky said. “I don’t know what would have happened to me if he hadn’t been there.”

Sandusky went to the hospital with serious injuries. Colton visited Sandusky multiple times while she was in the hospital.

“I love Lois,” he said. “For some reason, I feel like I’ve known her for longer than I really have.” He added that her family has been very appreciative.

“I don’t know what would have happened to me if he hadn’t been there,” Sandusky said. “I will always stay in contact with him. I owe him a great human debt.”

Colton attributes his speedy action to his large family. Being one of seven children, he learned to react quickly, he said. He added that he might go into the medical field. “I like to help people,” he said.

Colton remains humble despite his bravery. “I don’t want to be called your hero. I just want to be there for you,” he said. “I hope you would do the same thing for someone else.”


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