Good Samaritan killed trying to help driver

Good Samaritan killed trying to help driver
By: Carly O'Keefe
WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Ill. - A Good Samaritan dies trying to assist a driver involved in a car accident. Forty-six-year-old Tina McKinnies and her husband John of Johnston City pulled off the road to help a driver who had struck a utility pole. In trying to help, Tina was electrocuted.

The accident happened just before 11 p.m. Wednesday on Bandyville Road. The McKinnies were just passing by-- but according to folks who know them, it's not out of character for the couple to stop and lend a helping hand. "She'd do anything she could for anybody. She always helped out anyone she could," said neighbor Charles Watson.

Watson has lived next door to the McKinnies for years, and says it's no surprise to him the couple stopped along Bandyville Road to help. "John come by and told me about it, he says cars was just going right by out there, but he stopped to see if they needed help," said Watson.

According to police, James Grissom's car knocked down a utility pole, creating a dangerous situation for the good Samaritans. "The power line was brought down to our level, and she may not have even seen it," said Williamson County Sheriff Tom Cundiff.

Tina accidentally made contact with one of the wires; unfortunately electricity still flowed through the line. "This is tragic, the Good Samaritan, the person who stopped and was gonna help, was killed," said Cundiff.

Cundiff says this incident is especially unfortunate because often the kindness of people like Tina McKinnies helps police save lives. "A lot of times people will try to assist when there have been an accident alongside the road, and we appreciate those people, because without them, a lot of those people would die. Unfortunately, there's risk involved," said Cundiff.

Police charged the driver who caused the accident, 46-year-old James Grissom of Herrin, with driving under the influence of alcohol.
Services for Tina McKinnies will be held at Parker-Reedy Funeral Home in West Frankfort.     Visitation is set for 11 a.m. Saturday; funeral services will follow at 1 p.m.