Former NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne was in Port Royal, Pennsylvania, on Saturday for the World of Outlaws race at the Port Royal Speedway.
He left the race after finishing in 20th place, according to CBS Sports, but he was about to be faced with another challenge on the road.
Randy Deibelbi, 65, and his girlfriend attended the races and were headed back home along Route 322, pulling their camper with their truck.
They had no idea a driver was headed right toward them and had been driving the wrong way on the eastbound lanes for nearly six miles — but at around 10:38 p.m., that driver plowed into their truck head-on.
The two trucks were on top of the concrete jersey barrier, twisted wrecks on fire. Kahne was one of the several people who stopped to help with the situation, and it couldn’t have been a better team of strangers to respond to the scene.
In addition to Kahne, the other good Samaritans who raced toward danger included a delivery truck driver, an assistant fire chief, a former volunteer firefighter, a fourth-year medical student and an off-duty NYPD officer.
Together, they did their best to address the chaotic situation. Kahne grabbed a fire extinguisher from his tour bus and joined one of the others who’d also grabbed a fire extinguisher, and they battled the blaze while the others tried to figure out how to extract the three trapped inside their respective vehicles.
Despite the bystanders’ best efforts and selflessness in pulling the victims from the vehicles, both drivers ended up passing away from their injuries — but the good Samaritans at least gave them a fighting chance rather than leaving them to an absolute death sentence, trapped in their vehicles.
Deibelbi’s passenger was identified by family as his girlfriend, and she is still in the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
The wrong-way driver was later identified as Michael Hoy, 64, of Daytona Beach, Florida, according to Penn Live. Authorities still aren’t sure why he was driving westbound on the eastbound lanes.
“There was a tragic car accident on our way home from the races Saturday night,” Kahne tweeted on Oct. 13. “I just wanted to recognize all of the people who jumped in to help as quick as they possibly could until first responders arrived. My thoughts and prayers are with the families involved.”
A woman identifying herself as the niece of the woman in the hospital thanked Kahne for his life-saving efforts.
“You’re a TRUE HERO to me Sir,” she commented on his tweet. “That was my Aunt and her boyfriend in that truck that got hit. Thank you for all you did!!”
There was a tragic car accident on our way home from the races Saturday night. I just wanted to recognize all of the people who jumped in to help as quick as they possibly could until first responders arrived. My thoughts and prayers are with the families involved.
— Kasey Kahne (@kaseykahne) October 13, 2021
Another woman commented, too, adding that she’d been on the scene and hoped things were taking a turn for the better.
“Hi, I am the lady that sat with your aunt holding her wound on her wrist until emts arrived,” she wrote. “Can you update me on how she is doing? I’ve cried many tears over the unknown, and then with her boyfriends passing. I wish I could of done more for them both. Prayers to all!”
While the loss of life is tragic, these heroes have given many hope that there are still good people out there, willing to put their own lives on the line to save others even in the direst of circumstances.