Thursday had started off just like any other day for this construction worker. Kevin Huntington was carrying out his normal day job with a co-worker on the Interstate 95 highway in Henrico County, Virginia. However, that was all about to be turned upside down.
Indeed, Huntington’s typical workday, as well as his anonymity, wasn’t going to last much longer. As he carried out his work on the side of the I-95, he heard a commotion and looked up to see something that would forever change his life – and save someone else’s.
A car came hurtling down the highway, heading straight for the work zone where Huntington and his colleagues were. As he watched the car travel towards them at high speed, he saw a woman throw herself from the vehicle and then run towards them.
The young woman was screaming for help, asking Huntington to protect her. He could see that she was clearly frightened for her life. She subsequently pleaded with him to call the authorities, saying that a man was going to take her life if they didn’t.
Yet despite being faced with such an expected and frightening situation, Huntington snapped into survival mode and kept his cool to ensure the woman stayed safe. Recalling what he did next to news channel WTVR, Huntington said, “I asked the female if she was OK and she said no, there was a man trying to kill her. I told her just stay behind me and I wouldn’t let anything happen to her.”
Although the young woman had escaped, her ordeal wasn’t over. In fact, the man who’d abducted her had also exited the car that she had just fled from, and he was now following her on foot. He was on the phone, he was angry, and he was heading straight for them.
Huntington noticed him approach and stood his ground, shielding the woman from harm as he’d promised to do. The man from the car approached but then retreated once he saw the young woman’s protectors. He subsequently returned to the car and sped away back down I-95.
Soon afterwards, the police arrived in response to Huntington’s 911 call. Moreover, it was only then that Huntington learned the true details of the situation and the impact of his quick thinking. “The officer told me we may have been the break in the case, as that girl had been abducted earlier that day,” he recalled. “We were just at the right place at the right time.”
The police subsequently learned that the man who the girl had escaped from was 28-year-old Aaron Berg, an acquaintance of hers. After taking the young woman to hospital for treatment and support following her distressing ordeal, they set out to find Berg.
The authorities conducted a search of the area and several hours later Berg was tracked down and apprehended at the nearby home of a relation of his. Multiple charges were brought against him, including abduction, assault and battery.
So, how did Huntington feel about having played such an unexpected but critically important role in this woman’s escape? Well, he just saw it as doing the right thing. He has subsequently stressed the importance of helping others, as you never know what impact your actions could have.
“So many people nowadays are so focused on going from point A to point B,” he told NBC News. “But if someone needs your help, pick up the phone and do what you can. You never know whose life you may save.”
In the aftermath of the incident, further details have emerged about the victim’s terrifying ordeal. It appears that Berg and the young woman had previously enjoyed a consensual relationship, but that he then became jealous that she was dating other people and subsequently flew into a rage.
When the woman tried to leave Berg’s house, he prevented her from doing so, bruising her body in the process. Then, he attempted to strangle her with his bare hands and other objects. Evidence suggests that he also smashed the girl’s cellphone in order to prevent her from calling for help.
It was at this point that he took her to his car, before allegedly sexually assaulting her. Not long afterwards, she fled the speeding car on the I-95, risking her life for her freedom and begging for Huntington to help her.
With court proceedings now well under way, it seems that justice will eventually be served. In addition, a woman was saved from further harm thanks to the actions of a kind and brave construction worker.
However, Berg’s victim was not unique. In fact, there were a staggering 5,097 victims involved in a total of 4,787 reported sexual assaults in the year that he committed his crime against the young woman.
So, we really need more people like Huntington staying vigilant and not being afraid to stand up for those who need it the most. Indeed, in this case a brave bystander made all the difference.
And if more people heed his advice to pick up the phone and do what we can, then perhaps offenders will think twice before attacking their victims. It’s something we can only hope for.
Indeed, if people like Huntington can have an impact on society, then it can only have a positive outcome – protecting women from the horrors of sexual violence. If you see something, do something.