NC man thanks Good Samaritans who tracked down driver who hit him

John Williams (Courtesy: WNCN)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A Raleigh pedestrian struck by a drunk driver last week is thanking the Good Samaritan who stopped and detained the fleeing driver until police arrived.

The hit-and-run accident happened last Thursday near the intersection of New Bern Avenue and Trawick Road.

John Williams was crossing the street when a driver failed to slow down and struck him.

“I just remember crossing the street, then getting hit and knocked down,” said Williams, who was released from the hospital over the weekend. “I’m in a lot of pain, but I thank God for being alive, that’s a good thing.”

Colby Self and his co-worker Drew Long witnessed the accident and saw the driver speed off during the crash.

Self decided to follow the driver to try and get his license plate number.

“There were people getting out and checking on the pedestrian so we took off after the gentleman that was in the car,” said Self.

Colby Self (WNCN)

The driver hit a red light a few intersections up and pulled into an auto shop near the intersection of New Bern Avenue and Corporation Parkway. Self knew there was only one way in and out of the shop, so he blocked the entrance with his truck.

“When I saw him turn into the parking lot, I thought it’d be a good opportunity to stop him and detain him,” said Self. “He tried to circle around the back part of the parking lot and didn’t really have anywhere to go.”

Self got into the driver’s car and took the keys out of the ignition. Self, Long and a few workers from the auto shop kept the driver there until police arrived.

Police say they ended up taking the driver, 27-year-old Carlos Flores-Benitez, into custody. Flores-Benitez admitted to drinking and had a blood-alcohol-content of 0.17, according to police.

“Most hit-and-runs, once they leave the scene it can be very difficult to trace them down if you don’t have something to go off, a tag or somebody knows the person, and so I knew if we didn’t get something the chances of catching the guy were very unlikely,” said Self, who previously worked in law enforcement.

The incident left Williams extremely grateful for those who stepped in and help catch the man accused of running him over.

“I totally appreciate them and say ‘God bless them’ for that,” said Williams.

Flores-Benitez is facing felony hit and run and DUI charges and an immigration detainer request has been placed on him.