Engineer Duane Innes Causes Car Accident to Save Fellow Driver’s Life

Duane Innes, a Boeing engineer, caused a car accident on a Seattle highway to save the life of fellow driver Bill Pace.

Normally, if someone hits your car, you wouldn’t call him a hero. But in Bill Pace’s case, Duane Innes’ decision to put his own car in Pace’s path likely saved Pace’s life—as well as the lives of other motorists on Seattle’s Highway 167 on July 23rd.

While Innes was driving his minivan to a Mariners game, he noticed Pace’s truck, swerving across the lanes. Innes had to move his vehicle quickly to avoid getting hit—but when he looked back at the reckless driver, he saw that Pace was passed out behind the wheel. The cars were approaching a busy intersection, and Innes knew that Pace could be just seconds from a fatal collision with another car. He had to think fast.

Fortunately, Innes, an engineer with Boeing’s F22 fighter-jet program, is good at that. “Basic physics: If I could get in front of him and let him hit me, the delta difference in speed would just be a few miles an hour, and we could slow down together,” Innes told the Seattle Times.

So Innes pulled up in front of the truck, and allowed it to rear-end his car, bringing both vehicles to a safe stop in the pull-off lane.

Pace, an 80-year-old retiree who volunteers for the Special Olympics, had had a heart attack a few days earlier without realizing it. His circulation was still poor, causing him to pass out behind the wheel. If Innes hadn’t blocked his truck, he very likely would have died in a collision.

But “for all the good that he’s done, he’s probably deserving of a few extra lives,” said Innes.

After spending a week in the hospital for his heart issues, Pace is now doing well. He’s back to volunteering for Special Olympics events, teaching for the Kiwanis Club, and running grocery donation drives.

“What a local icon — how much volunteering he does. Boy, he’s just amazing,” Innes said. “If there’s someone out there that can hear a story like this and say, ‘Hey, it pays to do something good,’ then it’s all worth it.”

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