COBB COUNTY, Ga. — A Good Samaritan who survived a horrific hit-and-run crash in Austell is describing the moment he thought he was going to die.
On Friday, Keith Paine, 53, spoke exclusively from his hospital bed with Channel 2’s Michael Seiden about the moments leading up to the life-threatening crash.
Paine, a proud grandfather and husband, said it was around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday when he and his neighbor, Deborah Wright, rushed to help a stranded driver with a flat tire, but moments later, their act of kindness turned tragic.
“I was helping Miss Deborah [Wright] back in her car,” he recounted Friday from his hospital bed. “I was holding the door and she had got like halfway in her car, and there was no brakes or nothing. This car just slammed into us!”
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Paine says the violent crash sent him flying through the air, flipping several times before landing in a ditch. Somehow, he added, he found the strength to get back on his feet and managed to get a good look at the suspected driver before he fled the scene.
“I was trying to keep the blood out of my eyes,” he said. “I was pouring blood and I got his tag number and I just hollered it out about 50 times in the middle of the road.”
Police used that information to identify the driver as Anthony Sarfo, 43, of Austell. He’s charged with two felony counts of hit and run resulting in serious injury, a misdemeanor charge of open container violation and a misdemeanor charge of tampering with evidence prevent apprehension, according to jail records. As of Friday, he remained behind bars without a bond.
An arrest affidavit accused Sarfo of ditching his vehicle behind his house, removing the license plate and emptying open bottles of alcohol from inside of it.
On Wednesday, Channel 2 Action News stopped by the address listed for Sarfo, looking to speak with a family member but no one was home. It’s unclear if he has hired an attorney.
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Despite suffering a severe head injury, which required more than a dozen staples to stop the bleeding, and a collapsed lung, Paine is scheduled to go home this weekend but with a new appreciation for life.
“I learned from my grandfather to always help those in need,” he added as he choked back tears. “That’s the way I was raised, you know. You see someone in need of help and you help them out.”
Before the crash, Paine worked as a car broker and also worked in home remodeling sales. He now has a long road to recovery and will be unable to earn a paycheck. If you would like to help out, you can donate on this GoFundMe campaign.
Channel 2 Action News has reached out to Grady Memorial Hospital to get an update on Deborah Wright, but so far, our calls and emails haven’t been returned.
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