Brian Berry

Brian Berry stands near an Inco Beverage truck in Richland Township on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2017. Berry is being hailed for helping a motorist who was suffering a medical emergency.

His boss at Inco Beverage Inc. in Richland Township calls him the ideal employee.

But ask Brian Berry and he’ll tell you there is more to being a good employee than making deliveries on time.

Berry was driving north on Route 219 on Wednesday morning when he checked his rear-view mirror and noticed a Subaru SUV swerving back and forth behind him, totally out of control. It was clear, he said, that the woman behind the wheel was suffering a medical emergency.

“I sped up and looked in my side mirrors and saw her swerving more,” he said. “She was just out of it. Her car was bouncing off the median.”

Berry, who was on his way to make a delivery in Cresson, quickly pulled over to the side of the road.

He climbed out of the Inco Beverage truck and started chasing down the Subaru as it rolled along at what he estimated to be about 20 miles per hour.

“I just started running after the car. I tried getting into the passenger side, but the handle broke off. The car was bouncing off the barrier and almost hit me,” he recalled.

Berry then raced around the moving vehicle and opened the driver’s-side door.

“I tried to get my foot in there to stop the car. I’m hanging halfway out of the car,” he said.

“I was able to slow the car down to a complete stop and put it in park.”

Adams Township police later said that the driver lost control of her car because she suffered a seizure near the St. Michael-Sidman exit.

According to an incident report filed by Officer John Heming, the woman was “actively having a seizure” while Berry stopped her car. After the incident, Forest Hills EMS personnel took her to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center for treatment.

A witness to the incident said Berry helped to avert a tragedy.

Christine Lampel, general manager of an Aaron’s lease-to-own store in Ebensburg, was driving just behind Berry and the driver of the Subaru when the incident happened.

“I saw him running in front of my car. ... She had just bounced off the median,” Lampel recalled.

“He was running with the car that was picking up speed. He stayed with it the whole time, got her off the highway and got the car to stop. She could have ended up in a terrible accident.”

Berry, a Johnstown resident, has been driving for Inco Beverage for about seven years.

William Newcomer, operations manager for Inco Beverage, called what Berry did “unbelievable.”

“Brian exemplifies the best in people,” Newcomer said. “He’s got a great heart. He’s an ideal employee for Inco Beverage.

“We’re so proud of him for jumping in and preventing a further catastrophe.”

Berry said it’s not the first time that he has helped a motorist while on the job. Two years ago, he watched a vehicle spin out of control on an icy road and crash into a barrier.

“I was able to stop my truck in time, and I pulled her car to the side and sat with the lady until police arrived,” he recalled.

“She sent me a nice thank-you card.”

Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 532-5061. Follow him on Twitter @PatBuchnowskiTD.

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