CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has recognized East Mecklenburg High School senior baseball player Walker Brietz for his actions off the field; that included his involvement in saving the life of a UPS driver.
Walker was awarded the Purple Heart Student Lifesaver Award before Wednesday’s matchup against rival Independence High. The Eagles’ head coach and athletic director read a letter sent to them by a bystander known as West, about Walker’s heroics on Monday night.
The letter read, in part:
“Around 7:45 p.m., a UPS driver had crashed off the side of Sardis Rpad due to having a seizure and your player quickly turned around to help my wife and I as we called 911. With his assistance we got the man to break out of his shock and your player climbed over to safely put the car in park as it was crashed into a tree. … I found this to be very brave and an honorable act coming from someone his age. There were many cars that slowed down without stopping, and if your player can do this for a complete stranger, I can only imagine how great of a teammate he is.”
Walker told Queen City News Thursday he doesn’t see himself as a hero.
“The fact that it happened right there, and I was so close to home,” he said. “It was something I felt like I needed to do.”
The 18-year-old infielder was on his way home from practice when he drove up on the crash at the intersection of Sardis Road and Sardis Road North. That’s where he realized he had to be the one to lend a hand.
“There were cars going by without stopping,” he said. “I could tell that it was something that just happened because I probably could’ve seen it from where I was in the distance. I could tell from him hanging out of the side that guy needs some help.”
Walker guessed, almost immediately, that the driver suffered a seizure because it’s something he’s lived with his whole life.
“I could tell that he was probably having a seizure that was my best bet,” he said.
“I said, ‘Here’s what you do – keep him on his side, make sure he doesn’t choke on his tongue or saliva at this point,’” he explained. “I’m just glad that I was able to be there because I have epilepsy myself, and so I know seizures and signs of them and stuff like that.”
Walker and the bystander couple who were the first on scene waited to help the driver until EMS arrived.
Until Wednesday, Walker had only informed his parents what happened. The email sent from the bystander to baseball coach Clint Koppe alerted everyone of Walker’s actions.
He only saw his actions being that of something everyone should do in that situation.
“Anytime you can save someone, it’s definitely more important than winning a baseball game on a field,” Walker said.