Firefighter goes extra mile for elderly driver

Volunteer firefighter Billy Padgett Jr. puts gas in the car. (Prince George\'s County Fire/EMS Department)

WASHINGTON – When a West Lanham Hills volunteer firefighter saw a disabled car in town on Saturday, he pulled over to see whether there was anything he could do to help.

As it turned out, there was a lot.

According to a statement from the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department, Life Member Ed Stoner was headed to the station when he saw a disabled car on Veterans Highway, near Annapolis Road. The driver was elderly, and when Stoner stopped to help out, it turned out the man’s car was out of gas.

But Stoner quickly recognized the man as Richard Walter Haynes, 82, of Landover, who had been missing for two days and for whom a Silver Alert had been issued, according to the statement.

Stoner called the county police, who came to take Haynes and reunite him with his family. But the car was still sitting there, about to be impounded – a process that would cost time, aggravation and money for Haynes’s family.

So Stoner called some of his fellow volunteers, the statement said, and asked for some gasoline. They filled the car, drove it to the West Lanham Hills station and contacted Haynes’s family; someone came and drove it away that afternoon.

The county fire department congratulated Stoner in the statement, and said it was a reminder that “Silver Alerts do work.”

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