Glance at roadside leads to a rescue

Published May 9, 2007


Greg Schwartz saw it in a 40 mph flash: a face, a person, lying by the side of the road.

"Did you see that?" the Progress Energy lineman asked his passenger.

The assistant assured him it was just his exhaustion playing tricks on him. Schwartz had worked all day, and slept only a few hours before being called in to repair a Largo outage in the wee hours of April 29.

But what if he wasn't imagining things? Schwartz, 33, turned the truck around.

The decision may have saved a woman's life.

Schwartz swept the area with his searchlight, but found nothing. He turned around to head back to the office when he saw in his headlights a woman lying facedown in a ditch north of 110th Avenue in Seminole.

"I said, 'Are you okay?' and she said she couldn't get up, " recalled Schwartz, a married father of two from Seminole.

The 81-year-old woman didn't know her name, or where she lived, Schwartz said Tuesday.

She was very weak. She tried, but couldn't even turn herself over, or sit up without help, Schwartz said.

"He deserves credit for doing the right thing, " said Sgt. Jim Bordner, a spokesman for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. "Hopefully, somebody out there reading this might do the same thing."

The Sheriff's Office identified the woman as Virginia Moore, and returned her to Sweetwater of Largo, an assisted living facility on Walsingham Road in Largo.