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Victim of several strokes who cannot speak falls into street; paper deliverer calls 911

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Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Eugene Yeneral thought a trash can blew across Reed Street ahead of him early Tuesday along his Tribune-Review delivery route in Greensburg.

But the closer Yeneral got to the dark blur ahead of his car just before 6 a.m., he saw it was actually a barely dressed man who had fallen to the street. The temperature at the time was 9 degrees, but the wind chill factor was zero.

“I was really kind of shocked to see it was somebody out there with so little (clothing). He didn't have shoes or anything,” Yeneral said.

“It was still dark out, so I didn't know what the heck it was at first. I called 911 right away,” he said.

Yeneral, 57, said he stayed with the man, who was not identified by Greensburg city police, until ambulance and other emergency officials arrived. Police arrived three minutes after receiving the call.

Greensburg city Police Chief Wally Lyons said the incapacitated man, 53, has suffered repeated strokes and cannot speak. He lives along North Hamilton Street, about a block from where he was found, and had wandered out of his home into the frigid cold.

“The victim requires 24/7 care because of his condition, and his home is alarmed, but somehow he was able to walk outside,” Lyons said.

Yeneral said he tried to communicate with the shivering man as he telephoned 911, but the man did not respond.

“He had cut his legs when he fell, but he was trying to get up. The 911 operators told me to keep him there ... until emergency crews arrived,” Yeneral said.

Lyons said authorities at first did not know the man's identity. However, shortly after Yeneral called 911, the victim's wife telephoned authorities and said her husband was missing.

“We think he was out less than an hour. But we were fortunate (Yeneral) came along so quickly with those cold temperatures,” Lyons said.

“The doctors in the emergency room of Excela (Health Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg), told us he couldn't have been outside too long, because he didn't suffer any frostbite.”

Yeneral said he had experienced a “really bad day” before the incident.

“I was having all kinds of problems with my vehicle right before that. I couldn't get it out of gear because it was so cold and I had had a flat tire, and I felt like just going back home and back to bed,” Yeneral said.

A newspaper carrier for about four months, Yeneral down played any suggestion that he was a hero.

“I just was trying to help somebody. I am going to start carrying around a blanket from now on,” he said.

Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or ppeirce@tribweb.com.

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