Mark Poss didn’t hesitate early Sunday morning when he saw a couple trying to navigate their stranded car toward the 15th Street offramp from Highway 50 in downtown Sacramento.
Poss, 29, pulled off the eastbound freeway around 2:30 a.m., got out and began helping Mario Sanchez and Arlette Lavato move their vehicle out of harm’s way.
Suddenly, a car driven by a suspected drunken driver slammed into Poss and Sanchez, according to the CHP.
In an instant, Poss’ life changed forever. Both of his legs were severed that night and he remains hospitalized at the UC Davis Medical Center for treatment, according to a GoFundMe campaign on his family’s behalf.
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Stopping to help a stranger in the middle of the night was totally within Poss’ character, said Jennifer Martinez, his supervisor at Genentech.
“He’s willing to lend a hand to anyone who needs it,” she said.
David Greenseid said his son-in-law was just one of those people who always jumped in to help.
“He is just a remarkably generous, loving person,” Greenseid said.
Greenseid said the family has reason to be positive: “They may be able to save his left knee; that is today’s good news.”
His right leg was amputated at the foot, but doctors working to save as much as his left leg as possible. .
Poss never lost his sense of humor even as he remains in the hospital, Martinez said. She said he joked about the accident to lighten the mood and never once talked about the suspected drunken driver when she visited.
Poss and his wife, Sarah, are parents of a 1 1/2-year-old son, and Martinez started the GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the young family. Donations have poured in since the effort began Monday, with $45,000 raised as of Tuesday afternoon.
“Part of the story is just the incredible response,” Greenseid said, calling the generosity “overwhelming.”
The GoFundMe page shows a mustached Poss standing in front of a Christmas tree, his wife holding their smiling infant son.
Poss is expected to remain in the ICU for the next week and in the hospital for another two to three weeks after that, according to Martinez’s summary on the page. He then will have to spend months at an inpatient rehabilitation facility.
The driver who ran out of gas a few hundred yards from the nearest station expressed her concern for Poss in an interview with Channel 40.
“I think about all of it, like his son,” Lavato told the TV station, tearing up. “Like, maybe he had a son and he’s not going to play sports with his son.”
She said she knew it was bad as soon as she saw Poss.
“I told the guy, like, we’re going to get you help, just hold on,” Lavato said.
Lavato’s friend, Sanchez, suffered a broken leg in the incident and was also transported to UC Davis Medical Center that night.
Authorities quickly determined the driver who slammed into the two men pushing the car, 24-year-old Jacob Olson of Sacramento, was drunk.
“(Olson) displayed signs and symptoms of alcoholic beverage intoxication and was determined to be driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages at the time of the collision,” a CHP report states.
Martinez said more should be done to curb drunken driving.
“It’s so unfortunate that people’s lives are affected because people make bad choices,” Martinez said. “We have to stop people from drinking and driving.”
Olson was arraigned Tuesday after being booked into Sacramento County jail on Sunday.