Photographer captures the heartwarming teamwork of community after car wreck

Solidarity at its finest!
July 7, 2018 1:29 pm Last Updated: July 7, 2018 4:35 pm

A serious car crash that sent several people to the hospital doesn’t sound like the makings of a very uplifting story. But a stunning series of photos from the scene reveals a human side to the story beyond the pain and wreckage—and shows that human kindness prevails even in the most frightening circumstances.

On the morning of Friday, June 22, a photographer named Justin Willis was on his way to work in Louisville, Kentucky. But on the way he came across a serious accident on the road.

A car and van collided, rolling the van on its side—and trapping the passengers inside.

(WHAS11/Screenshot)

“I was able to tell there were plenty of people there … that something horrible had just happened,” Willis told WHAS11.

Something about the scene made Willis take out his camera and start taking photos—but it wasn’t the crash itself. It’s what was happening now.

Strangers were rallying to help the crash victims.

Moments after this van overturned in the 200 block of South 15th Street, men and women in the area rushed to stabilize…

Posted by Louisville Spotlight on Saturday, June 23, 2018

“I could tell people were trying to help,” Willis said. “All these strangers, without concern or care, reached out to help their neighbors.

“And that was a pretty magical thing to witness and is worthy of sharing.”

There were dozens of strangers helping out. A few were seen holding up the overturned vehicle, and others performed first aid on the victims while waiting for emergency services to arrive.

The man in the green and white shirt came from the area to hold hands with and comfort a stranger. At right in dark blue scrubs, Zawisa continued to help a woman who was injured in the crash.

Posted by Louisville Spotlight on Saturday, June 23, 2018

One of the good Samaritans who caught Willis’s attention was a woman in blue scrubs who was providing medical attention.

“She was comforting people. She was trying to stop the blood,” Willis said. “When you look at these photos, she didn’t have gloves on.”

“And I think that sums up that none of these people had any internal debate about what they were going to do. That was the touching part to me.”

Kaitlyn Zawisa, in blue scrubs, is an employee at a nearby plasma bank. She had just arrived for work when she saw the…

Posted by Louisville Spotlight on Saturday, June 23, 2018

That woman was Kaitlyn Zawisa, who told WHAS11 that she arrived on the scene shortly after the collision and didn’t hesitate to get out and help.

“My first reaction honestly was there’s got to be someway I can help because I know that this is someone’s mom, daughter, brother, sister,” she said. “This is someone that needs help.”

Kaitlyn Zawisa, in blue scrubs, is an employee at a nearby plasma bank. She had just arrived for work when she saw the…

Posted by Louisville Spotlight on Saturday, June 23, 2018

Several people were hospitalized after the accident but, while it’s unfortunate, Willis’s photos show how these situations can bring out the best in humanity.

Mr. Rogers once advised that in times of crisis you can “look for the helpers” because there are “always people helping,” and that’s what happened in Louisville that day.

“America was in the street injured and trying to save itself,” Willis said.

“We’re human. We’re all human,” Zawisa said. “It’s crazy how we all fight and get into all this, but we just really need to be there and help people. And that’s what it’s really about.”