By Erik S. Hanley
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
January 5, 2021
After a man was struck twice by two separate cars in Caledonia, both driven by Franklin residents, a third Franklin man stopped to perform CPR — and ultimately saved the victim.
Matt Wolter, 37, of Franklin was driving home Dec. 30 from work at SC Johnson in Racine around 6:30 p.m when suddenly, Wolter said, he saw a flash of brake lights about 1,000 feet ahead. Then, he saw something fly up and over the vehicle in front of him.
“I thought it was a deer; no, it was a human,” Wolter said, adding that the man appeared to roll over the vehicle and land on the road.
The pedestrian, a 54-year-old man from Caledonia, was walking west on the north side of 6 Mile Road and crossed southbound into the path of a westbound vehicle, according to a news release from Caledonia Police.
“The driver, a 29-year-old man from Franklin, swerved to avoid striking the pedestrian but was unable to do so,” the release said. “This vehicle then left the roadway, where it struck a tree in the front yard of a residence and the pedestrian remained injured in traffic.”
The man was hit a second time by another vehicle driven by a 51-year-old Franklin man. All involved parties cooperated on scene and police said alcohol and/or drugs likely were not a factor for either driver.
Had to do something
After seeing the man get hit, Wolter put on his flashers and pulled over. He walked over and found the man lying in the middle of the road. One of the drivers was already there on the phone with the police asking if the victim was alive and breathing. The man was moaning and there was blood pooling at his head, Wolter said.
“They (the victim) weren’t with it,” he said, adding the man’s leg was “twisted up.”
Wolter said he had to do something, so he began to perform CPR on the man, doing chest compressions as recommended by the dispatcher. Police arrived at about 6:32 p.m., according to the release.
“Officers took over life-saving measures until relieved by Caledonia Rescue,” the release said. Emergency personnel rushed the victim to Ascension All Saints Emergency Room; due to the extend of his injuries, he was later flown by Flight For Life to Froedtert Hospital, police said.
Wolter said the EMTs “were like a SWAT team, they were quick and efficient,” adding that an EMT told him he probably saved the man’s life.
Driving home Wolter was “shook.” Once there, Wolter posted what he called a public service announcement on Facebook telling people to get trained on first aid and CPR and to donate blood — something he’s done 68 times since he turned 18.
Wolter, who has a Ph.D. from the school of public health at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, said he’s had his CPR and First Aid certification for about the last ten years but had never used the skills before.
“It’s kind of like karma or paying it forward,” Wolter said. “You’re not sure when you’ll need it, so you want to be prepared. I hope someone would help me.” Now that he’s a father of a 6-year-old and a 5-year-old, Wolter said that gave him more motivation to keep up with it.
Wolter checked with Caledonia Police the next day but said they didn’t share much other than that the man was alive.
Wolter said he doesn’t want people to make this about him.
“I don’t really want to make this as a hero thing,” he said. “I think of it more as about the importance of first aid training and donating blood. I was just there and doing a duty I think most people should do. I’m not extra special.”
Caledonia Police said the incident is still under investigation.Mat