ST. CHARLES CO., MO. - A man is in custody and now facing charges, after troopers said he hit a motorcyclist and left the scene.
The crash happened just before 7:30 p.m. near the intersection of Route F in Defiance, Missouri. Troopers say a driver crossed into an oncoming lane and struck 45-year-old Daniel Helfert of Fenton, who was riding his motorcycle. Helfert was thrown from his bike, and the other driver fled the scene, according to troopers.
Monday night, troopers identified the vehicle involved in the crash and took a person of interest into custody.
Helfert remains hospitalized. His son, DJ Helfert, said doctors amputated the lower part of his father’s leg after the crash.
“He’s pretty upset, but he’s alive, and he’s breathing,” Helfert said about his father. “He remembers taking the mirror off the car with his shoulder. He [doesn’t] really remember the ambulance ride but he remembers coming to in the hospital.”
Helfert went to the scene of the crash Monday, and found one of his father’s shoes and a piece of plastic he believed belonged to the vehicle that fled. He also found a vehicle he thought was involved in the crash parked a few miles away, and reported his findings to troopers.
Several strangers witnessed the crash and rushed to help Helfert.
“There was a loud bang and I immediately pulled over and ran over towards him,” said Michael J. Lawson, who riding his motorcycle behind the driver that allegedly caused the crash. He tended to Helferts wounds until help arrived.
“He was responding to what I was telling him, to stay still and not move,” Lawson said.
“I sat in kind of a squat position to rest my arm so I could hold his leg up from out of the dirt to protect the wound until the firefighters got there.”
“I turned into the closest driveway and told the kids to stay in the car and I called 911 immediately,” said Trent Shortt, who was driving right behind Helfert’s motorcycle before the crash.
Several people waited with Helfert until he was taken to the hospital. The victim’s family said they are grateful for the stranger’s quick action.
“I felt like any person would have done what I [did,] especially any other biker,” Lawson said. “He was in need and I was there to help.”
“You try to be a good person,” added Shortt. “I would do what I would want other people to do. I happen to ride a motorcycle also, and I hope if somebody saw the similar situation with me, people would pull over and try to help me and get me help as fast as they could.”
Helfert’s efforts paid off. Highway Patrol investigated several leads Monday, including his, and later identified the vehicle involved in the crash. He hopes drivers will be more mindful of motorcyclists in the future.
“Just watch out for people on bikes,” he said. “You’re in a car and they’re in the open.”
A Gofundme page has been created to help with Helfert's medical expenses.
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