According to all who knew him, William Riley Knight was the kind of man who was always there to help a person in need. Now the 49-year-old newlywed who was married a scant seven hours before being killed by passing motorists after he stopped to help someone is dead precisely for that reason.
On his way to the hotel with his new bride immediately following their wedding, Knight -- a 12-year veteran of the Army Rangers -- saw a woman stranded on the side of the road. They stopped to help. After safely parking his car in a nearby lot and leaving his new bride, Knight got out and walked to help Linda Darlington, whose vehicle had slid into a ditch. Both were struck and killed by multiple vehicles.
His new wife said she went to the scene after hearing what she describes as " a thud." Awful. Chilling. One can scarcely imagine what Nikki Knight must have been feeling. She said:
I went from a being a newlywed to a widow in less than 48 hours — the highest high to the lowest low. It's a blur.
It's just unimaginable. And what's the lesson here? Don't stop to help people in need? Ignore that instinct and keep driving?
Had Knight done that, he might be alive. But had he been the type of person to do that, he may also not have been the man his wife loved. How many times are people stranded on the side of the road and how many vehicles would just pass them by?
It's pretty common. The vast majority would likely do so. In other words, Knight was truly, truly special.
Maybe that can give some comfort to his widow, though it's hard to imagine just how much. The day of a wedding is such a special day full of hope and excitement and love. To go from that to this is just beyond words. I hope she is able to find some comfort in the fact that the man she married was a truly outstanding human being. But what a horrible heartbreak.
Would you stop to help a stranded motorist?
Image via mjtmail (tiggy)/Flickr