Car salesman stops runaway van in South Korea
After seeing the driver slumped over, Son Ho-jin sprang into action, luckily before the vehicle made it to another intersection
By Park Jae-hyuk
Few people would easily decide to jump into a moving car to save a driver who had been in an accident.
Kia Motors salesman Son Ho-jin, however, made such a heroic decision, when he witnessed a car accident on his way to work in South Korea’s South Chungcheong Province.
The 34-year-old jumped into a running minivan and rescued its driver, who lost consciousness after a broadside collision with a passenger car in an intersection.
“I was making a right turn in the intersection, when I heard a thumping sound behind my car. I stopped my car at first to see what happened,” he told The Korea Times, Monday. “At first, I didn’t know whether the driver was unconscious or fleeing the scene. After a while, I saw the driver slumped down in the passenger seat.”
Then, Son immediately got out of his car and rushed to the minivan.
Because the minivan’s gear was in drive, the vehicle was moving 300 meters away from the scene of the collision.
“I jumped through the vehicle’s passenger-side window to turn off the engine,” he said. “The minivan’s speed made it hard to do so. Fortunately, the driver regained consciousness and turned off the engine. I put the car into park.”
The minivan was heading for another intersection and a bridge, so it could have caused another accident.
Son, who also serves as a car racer of the Cofran Lubricants’ racing team, said his interest in vehicles helped him prevent additional accidents.
“I knew I can stop any car, if I turn off their engines or put their gear into park,” he said.
Although the minivan’s gear lever is behind its steering wheel, unlike most other vehicles, the salesman found the gear lever easily due to his experience in the automotive industry.
The minivan was a Hyundai Motor Trajet, which was made by Kia’s sister company.
Son, who was awarded by the Boryeong city government, LG Foundation and the Boryeong Police Station this week for his heroic act, said anyone would have done the same.