Good Samaritan thankful for outpouring of support

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Detroit — A Northville teen who was severely injured after trying to help people hurt in a freeway crash last month thanked those who showed an outpouring of support.

“It really means a lot to me,” said Sean English, the 16-year-old University of Detroit Jesuit High School student. “People just stepped up and said some healthy things that helped me get through this tough process. It is a tough process, and I’m moving forward.”

English made the remarks Monday at a news conference held at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. He was joined by his parents and sister.

On April 2, Sean was riding to Mass with his parents when they came upon a car crash on Interstate 96 near the Davison Freeway in Detroit. They and a Henry Ford Hospital pulmonologist stopped to help.

Sean English wiped tears from his eyes while he thanked the Michigan State trooper who helped save his life last month.

Sean and the doctor were hurt when another car came around the same curve as the crash, lost control, went into a spin and struck them. Police suspected alcohol was a factor in the crash, but family of the 17-year-old driver said he wasn’t drinking or using his phone while behind the wheel. The driver also was seriously hurt.

Sean had a foot amputated because of his injuries. The doctor, Cynthia Ray, 47, died several days after the crash.

Hospital officials said Monday that Sean also suffered a broken femur, severe tissue damage, an anterior cruciate ligament tear and a medial collateral ligament tear in his knee, a torn ankle ligament as well as a broken sacrum — a bone at the base of his spine — and a broken tailbone.

Sean’s had six surgeries at the hospital. He was discharged on April 21. Sean will undergo rehabilitation over the next several weeks and will also be fitted with a prosthetic for his right leg.

On Monday, the teen and his family thanked people who have helped take care of him as well as the community for their support. At times, the teen and his family were nearly overcome by emotion.

Sean wiped away tears and his voice broke when he thanked Michigan State Trooper Patrick Arenas. The trooper found English and Ray on the ground after the crash. He immediately placed a tourniquet on Sean’s leg.

“There’s one very special man out there I’d like to thank, Trooper Patrick Arenas,” the teen said. “He’s the reason I’m talking today.”

He also thanked all of the staff of the hospital’s emergency room that treated him after the accident and all of his friends from school.

Sean said he’s getting better every day and can’t wait to get back to school. A cross-country runner, he said he also plans to run again someday.

His father, also named Sean, thanked their relatives, their church and their friends for all of their love and well-wishes. He also became choked up when he talked about how much he loved his wife, son and daughter.

“I am blessed with the two greatest children in the world,” he said fighting back tears. “(My wife) is my strength. I tell her everyday I’m the luckiest man in the world and I mean it. This tragedy pulled at my heart and she was the rock that kept us strong.”

He also called on everyone to help others in need like he and his family try to do every day.

“Do something extraordinary,” he said. “Find someone who you normally don’t interact with and so something nice for them. It can be very simple. Do it for Sean. Keep his legacy alive.”

cramirez@detroitnews.com