FESTUS, Mo. - A motorcyclist clinging to life was saved by a fifth grader on his way home from school. The Festus Intermediate school student saw the man lying in a ditch, after he crashed on Route P in Festus. At first, the kid's bus driver thought it was a deer, but as Jerald Withers, 11, later found out, it was a man in desperate need.
"He didn’t want nothing else except to go back and make sure that it was a person there," Bob Bruenger, Jerald’s grandfather said.
That’s how Jerald Withers' mom and grandfather knew it was something serious. Because after school, you would normally find Jerald shooting hoops, throwing around a football or playing Xbox.
"He knew deep down it was something. He went with his instincts," his mom Brandy Overturf said.
His instincts are what possibly saved a man's life. On his bus ride home from school, Jerald spotted a man lying under a bridge in a ditch. He wasn't sure if the man was still alive.
"He looked real stiff so I thought he might of [sic] died," Jerald said.
Police said the man later identified as Billy McMahan crashed his motorcycle on Route P in Festus on Thursday around 4:00 in the afternoon. At the crash site, remains of a shredded tire from McMahan's motorcycle were still there.
"Paramedics said who knows how long he had been there because his bike was so cooled off,” Overturf said. “They said he was there for some hours and if Jerald would not have noticed, he probably would have frozen to death and not made it through the night."
It was Jerald's watchful eye that possibly made all the difference.
"Words can't even describe it. It's amazing," Overturf said.
"He's a great kid,” Bruenger said. “Great kid."
The type of kid, his family members said, who put others before himself.
"He's always worried about other people than he is himself," Bruenger said.
Jerald said McMahan thanked him after calling 911 for help. But Jerald said he would like to see him again, so he can tell him how happy he is that he was able to help him out.
"I would just tell him that I'm thankful that I saw him,” Jerald said. “It's just crazy to think about that he could have died and that he's alive right now. It's really cool."
We reached out to the hospital where Billy McMahan is being treated. We're told he's conscious and his vitals are good. And he is expected to live.