Krystal McIntosh was on her way to work at the United Parcel Service (UPS) hub in suburban Hodgkins, and Lashon Patterson was on his way home after a night of work at the same place.
They both live in Riverdale, but their paths crossed for the first time under frightening circumstances—and McIntosh is grateful they did.
McIntosh’s vehicle was struck by a hit-and-run driver near 127th Street and Pulaski Road during the early morning of Jan. 28, and Patterson stopped to help.
McIntosh suffered a broken wrist and three broken fingers, but she still feels blessed.
“I am grateful and thankful that I am alive,” McIntosh said. “I was screaming, ‘Somebody please help me!’ I’m screaming my kids’, husband’s, grandkids’ names. Whether [Patterson] heard me or not, I was just thankful to see him when I was able to poke my head outside the car on the passenger’s side.”
The accident occurred at about 2:30 a.m. McIntosh, who will turn 51 on Feb. 18, was on her way to work in UPS dispatch, while Patterson had just finished another shift as a delivery driver. McIntosh recalled a speeding car trailing her, and before she could switch lanes, her vehicle was struck from behind, then hit a nearby pole and rolled twice before landing on its hood. The other driver fled, and no passing cars stopped.
McIntosh said she was hyperventilating as she lay upside down. She screamed and kicked the passenger’s side door open.
Patterson, 48, said he was headed east on 127th Street when he saw an overturned vehicle with its headlights on and exhaust coming from the tailpipe. He made a U-turn, then saw McIntosh climb out of her car window.
He knew he had to stop. He called 911, then McIntosh’s husband, Len. Paramedics soon arrived, and McIntosh was taken to the hospital.
“I was scared for her,” Patterson said. “It could have turned out another way. ... There could have been a chance no one came. People don’t always stop.”
McIntosh said she took an alternative route to work because a train was blocking her normal route. She said she viewed photos from the accident and is amazed she survived. She just wants Patterson to be recognized. She calls him one of her “UPS angels.”
“If not for him, I don’t think I would be alive,” McIntosh said. “They could have planned my funeral.”
Patterson said another car later pulled up to check on McIntosh.
He’s just glad he was there, too.
“I’m happy she’s alright,” Patterson said. “It could have turned out a whole different way.”
Patterson said he’s never encountered such a scene, and he’s sorry McIntosh endured such a frightening accident. He can’t fathom how someone could have struck her, then sped off.
“I don’t understand that,” Patterson said “It’s just heartless.”
McIntosh and Patterson still haven’t met. McIntosh will be recovering the next several months and off work, though Patterson, who didn’t know her exact condition, said he has stopped in to the dispatch offices looking for her.
McIntosh can’t wait to meet him. She is counting her blessings, and she said it is therapeutic to discuss the accident.
“I am very, very happy to be alive,” McIntosh said. “Thankful—very thankful.”