Tom Nolte will tell you he’s not any kind of hero. He was just at the right place at the right time.
Patrick O’Connor, who witnessed Nolte’s actions, said if Nolte is not a hero, he’s certainly one good Samaritan.
Nolte and his wife, Deb, helped avert what potentially could have been a terrible automobile accident on Elida Road a week ago today. At around 9:45 p.m., an elderly driver became disoriented at the traffic light near the Meijer grocery store and Taco Bell, and turned the wrong way onto Elida Road, heading east in the westbound traffic lane. Several cars had to swerve to miss head-on collisions before the Noltes were able to help get the man in the proper lane.
“We were at the light, leaving Meijer, when the car stopped in front of us took off through the red light. Not only did he run the light, but he turned in front of the concrete median and was driving east in the westbound lane of traffic,” Tom Nolte said.
Nolte pulled out in the proper lane of traffic and pursued the man from across the concrete median, beeping his horn and trying to get the man’s attention, while at the same time, flashing his lights so other motorists heading toward the wrong-way driver would be warned.
As cars swerved to avoid the elderly man, he kept driving at a slow rate of speed. He finally stopped at the Elida Road intersection near Burger King and McDonald’s. Tom Nolte quickly rushed over to the elderly man’s car to inform him of the situation.
“I knocked on his door and got his attention. He wasn’t intoxicated or anything, just disoriented,” Nolte said. “I figure he was from out of town because he kept saying he was looking for Main Street in Lima, Ohio … people from Lima would just say Lima.
“A guy in a truck also stopped and we helped the old guy get in the right lane of traffic. The truck driver told the elderly man to follow him and he would take him to Main Street. I’m just glad no one got hurt.”
O’Connor was driving east on Elida Road when he and his son Jackson watched the incident unfold. When they came upon the stopped vehicles, they were surprised — and yet not surprised — to see the Noltes involved.
“I have known both Tom and Deb for years and this is not unusual behavior for them; they put in countless hours of volunteering at Shawnee school functions and St. Rose Catholic church events as well. I hope their actions meet your rose qualifications,” he wrote in an email.
That and more.
ROSES AND THORNS: A group of biology students are a welcome addition to the rose garden.
Rose: To Amy Amspoker and her students in advanced biology at Elida High School. Their garden was harvested for a second time in late July with 35 pounds of produce being donated to Our Daily Bread soup kitchen in Lima. During the school year the students start the seeds in a greenhouse and prepare the beds for planting in May. They then schedule weeding, harvesting and weighing throughout the summer.
Rose: To Beth Edwards, who organized a grassroots effort to collect bottled water and drive it to Toledo during the city’s recent water crisis.
Rose: To Jim Stout, who was inducted into the Allen County Agricultural Society Hall of Fame. He served 12 years on the fair’s board, eight as president, and oversaw many of the improvements at the fairgrounds.
Rose: To Elida native John Ondo. His documentary on the former Gomer school won an Emmy Award from the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Science.
Thorn: A 45-minute-long red light at North Cable and Elida roads made a midday mess of Tuesday traffic. The lengthy light was caused by a train that stopped and reversed multiple times at the North Cable Road crossing. Its actions triggered a newly installed circuit in the traffic light that is supposed to help the flow of traffic.
PARTING SHOT: Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?