A family remembers its good Samaritan Eddie Grieves died trying to help others.

December 24, 1991|By Jay Merwin | Jay Merwin,Evening Sun Staff

Edward Francis Grieves 3rd couldn't pass a stranded motorist without pulling over to offer his help, perhaps to have a look under the hood.

He was handy at fixing things, his brothers said. Though he often cut or banged himself in the process, he persisted until he got the job done. "Some way or other he would always bleed in helping somebody," said his brother John, 28.

Eddie Grieves, 30, died Sunday morning trying to help somebody.

He had been driving southbound on Interstate 95 when he spotted a traffic accident on the northbound side near Moravia Road. He pulled over, got out of his car and leaped over the median barrier, trying to get to the people involved in the accident.

I-95 is elevated at that point, however, and there are eight feet of open space between the northbound and southbound roadways. Grieves fell more than 30 feet onto the railroad tracks below, where he died of multiple injuries.

John Grieves, who had just come back to the family home in Fullerton for the holidays, called his brother a good Samaritan.

The day he died, Eddie Grieves was supposed to have played golf with his father and brothers but backed off at the last minute to go see a friend's new motorcycle, John said. The father and two of the three brothers were on the green of the first hole at Clifton Park when someone rode up in a golf cart, telling them to call home.

Eddie had died on the way to see his friend.

Had he walked 100 feet from the point where he leaped over the barrier, he could have crossed safely over a median strip, police said. They said the people in the accident that drew his attention suffered only minor injuries.

Whether Grieves looked before he leaped is not known, said Tom Freburger, a spokesman for the state Transportation Authority. "We just don't know if he just didn't realize there was a space between that and the other lane," Freburger said.

The three-foot wall along the median blocks any view of the 30-foot dropoff from more than a few feet away. Most likely, Grieves took a running jump over the wall without seeing until it was too late the canyon of open space between the roadways, Freburger said.

John Grieves can only speculate that his brother must have approached the jump with urgency. "He probably just hurdled it like a horse." John is certain, however, that his brother had been hurrying to help the people in the accident.

"He would help anybody in distress, and I guess his life ended that way," John said yesterday. "It runs in the family, more so in him, the handyman of the family."

He said Eddie would work on his cars, or do repairs around his parents' house, often banging or cutting himself in the process, but getting the job done.

Eddie Grieves was the eldest of four sons. He grew up in the house on the 4200 block of Thorncliff Road in Fullerton, where he continued to live with his parents and his youngest brother, Tony, 18.

After graduation from Overlea High School, John said, Eddie worked for a while as a clerk and delivery man with his father, a salesman of shoe repair and manufacturing materials. At the time of his death, Eddie was employed by a drywall manufacturer, Dietrick Industries, John said.

Eddie was a heavy man who had recently been losing weight, said John, who envisions his brother as "the man who could fly now. He's got wings."

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