Three teenage girls and an unknown man were the definition of good Samaritans on Saturday afternoon for helping a man whose motorized wheelchair became stuck on train tracks near downtown Kendallville.
By the time Kendallville police officer Tyler Bennett arrived, the man in the wheelchair was off the tracks, the three girls were nearby, but the man who helped them had left.
Within five minutes of his arrival, a train sped by on the tracks where the man had been stuck, Bennett said.
"They obviously did a great job," said Bennett of the girls and the man who helped them. "They saw something that needed to be done, and they took immediate action."
The News-Sun newspaper in Kendallville identified the girls as Jordan McCarty, Chelsea Stephens and Holly Handshoe, all 15 years old. The newspaper reported that the girls were going to pick up a movie from the Family Video in Kendallville when they saw Mike Schneider stuck on the Norfolk Southern tracks.
They eventually got the chair dislodged by pushing it backward, according to an Associated Press report.
"They said a lot of people were watching, but weren't helping," said Bennett, who responded to a 911 call the girls made as they tried to get Schneider off the tracks.
Schneider's wheelchair became stuck on the tracks when it quit working, Bennett said. Later, it was discovered that a cable had become loose under Schneider's seat. Schneider told Bennett the chair had never stopped working like that.
The train tracks are typically very busy, Bennett said, so much so that officers responding to scenes across town are sometimes hindered by train traffic.
After calling for someone to take Schneider home, Bennett was dispatched to another emergency call. It didn't matter, though, as the girls offered to stay with Schneider until his ride arrived.
Bennett said the girls remained with the man an additional 20 to 30 minutes.
"I understand they're saying they weren't heroes, but obviously they were heroes to him," Bennett said.