South Carolina

Why this SC trooper used his own money to help a stranded motorist on I-20

Everett Barber, right, was stranded with a disabled car on the side of Interstate 20 in Lexington County, SC, on Aug. 4, 2018, with only enough money to pay for the repairs. Trooper Jason Blaney, left, gave Barber money to have the vehicle towed and get a meal with his fiancee while they waited.
Everett Barber, right, was stranded with a disabled car on the side of Interstate 20 in Lexington County, SC, on Aug. 4, 2018, with only enough money to pay for the repairs. Trooper Jason Blaney, left, gave Barber money to have the vehicle towed and get a meal with his fiancee while they waited. Screenshot from Facebook

Trooper Jason Blaney didn’t get into law enforcement for attention or recognition, but his act of kindness for a motorist stranded on Interstate 20 last weekend is getting both.

“Not all police officers or troopers are bad!” Everett Barber wrote in a Facebook post Saturday morning. “I needed help, stranded on the side of the highway with only enough money to get my parts to fix my car. This SC State Trooper paid for my tow and fed me and my lady! Thank God for people like him!”

Next to Barber in the picture, which by Wednesday afternoon had been shared more 1,400 times and received more than 2,000 reactions, was Blaney.

The trooper, who patrols Lexington and Richland counties, said Barber’s vehicle was disabled on the side of I-20 in Lexington County. The timing belt on the engine had broken.

“Through conversation, he was telling me he’d be able to fix it if he was able to get it to a safe location,” Blaney told The State. “He had the ability to pay for the parts. ... The two fee was going to be too much; he had enough money to do one or the other.”

Blaney called one of the tow companies the Highway Patrol contracts with. They estimated $75 to $105 to tow the vehicle.

“I have $100 in my pocket,” he told them. “Would you accept that to get him off the side of the road? They said they would to it for $80.”

Barber asked how much the tow would cost, but Blaney told him not to worry about it. The money covered the cost of the tow and a meal for Barber and his fiancee while they waited. Before Blaney went back on patrol, Barber asked for a picture with him.

“That wasn’t even in the slightest sense in my mind of the intention behind any of this,” Blaney said of the press and social media attention to his good deed. “I would have done it for anybody who needed help. I’m not going to leave somebody stranded on the side of the road. If something bad were to happen with them (on the roadside), that’s something I would have to hold on my shoulders.”

The entire call took about 45 minutes, during which Blaney and Barber mulled different ways to get the car off the roadside and repaired.

“That was kind of a last resort,” he said. “I never expected it to go as far as it has. I wasn’t doing this for the recognition, I wasn’t doing this for the social media posts. There’s other things that officers are doing on a daily basis that should get just as much attention as this. I’m glad it’s taken the route that it has.”

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