Allentown
68° F
Scattered Clouds
Scattered Clouds

LANTA bus driver, teen honored for stopping hit-and-run driver who caused bike crash

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 05 2012 09:32:54 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 09 2012 05:46:04 AM CDT

LANTA bus driver, teen honored

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

It's like something out of a Hollywood movie; a LANTA bus driver and a Bethlehem teen help catch a hit-and-run driver by blocking him on a bridge after a bicycle crash in the city.

The cyclist was hit from behind and says he's just happy to be alive. The incident unfolded Monday afternoon on the Fahy Bridge, and it was all caught on camera.

"I saw images of the sky and the concrete whirl around like in a kaleidoscope, and then I heard all kinds of sounds and realized it was my body making impact with the ground," said Frank Pavlick.

Pavlick describes the terrifying moments before he realized he was alive.

It was a hit-and-run, and video of the wreck unfolding was captured by cameras on the Fahy Bridge. In the recording you can see a black car aggressively trying to get around traffic. Then it slams into Pavlick.

"It was unexpected," explains Pavlick. "I heard the explosion of my rear wheel and my tire."

The teen driver barely takes a second before speeding off.

"The biker stood up and signaled me to follow the guy to, I assume, to get his license plate, so that's what I tried to do," said Jud Smull.

Smull, 17, goes after the culprit, while a LANTA bus driver realizes the driver is trying to escape.

"At that time I blocked the bridge with the bus, pretty much both lanes and he couldn't get around the bus," said bus driver Richard Gubish Jr.

Smull pulls behind the 17-year-old hit-and-run driver to box him in. He stays there until police arrive. Pavlick, 50, is bruised and has a busted bike.

"It warms your heart to see that people still care about one another enough to put themselves out there to take immediate action and do the right thing," smiled Bethlehem Police Commissioner Jason Schiffer.

Gubish and Smull were honored Thursday by the city for their quick thinking.

Without the actions of the men of the hour, police say the motorist may have never been caught. Pavlick also expressed his gratitude.

"I've been waiting to meet both of you guys and say thanks publicly and privately," he said.

The driver was charged with two traffic violations, and he's the first in Bethlehem to be sighted under a new state law that says cars must give bikes four feet of clearance when they pass. That law went into effect the same day as the wreck.