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Tow Truck Driver Saves Woman (PA)


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‘Nobody Was Helping’: Tow Truck Driver Saves Woman From Attacker In Center City



PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One minute, John Sabalauskas was behind the wheel. The next, he was on top of a guy who attacked a woman in Center City and risking his own safety to help a complete stranger.


Sabalauskas is a tow truck driver with CCC Towing and on Thursday, he offered a different kind of assistance.

Around 2 p.m. on Thursday, Sabalauskas was driving east down Market Street when he was about to cross over 21st Street. Then, he heard something terrible.


The radio was playing a song, but if you listen closely to the dash cam recording he showed Eyewitness News, you might be able to make out what sounds like a siren in the background. That was actually the desperate cries of a young woman.


“I seen her face, seen him, threw the truck in park, jumped out of the truck and ran over,” Sabalauskas said.

Sabalauskas said he saw the woman on her back, frightened and fighting off a man who was on top of her.


“Trying to rip her bag off her back,” Sabalauskas said. “She had like a school bag, trying to rip it off. I screamed as I did that, he grabbed her laptop and he proceeded to run down 21st northbound, so I gave chase.”


He also yelled to another bystander.


“Grab him! As he started to run by that gentleman, that gentleman reached out, grabbed him by the shoulder, I guess threw him off-balance and as them two fell, I was already on top of both of them, holding this guy down,” Sabalauskas said.


The two good Samaritans held the man in place while a police officer was flagged down. A nearby business caught the conclusion as more officers arrived and took the would-be robber into custody.


Sabalauskas said the woman didn’t appear to have any serious injuries and brushes off those who have asked, “What if the suspect was armed?”


“They didn’t see the look on that girl’s face that I saw,” he said. “The way she was on that ground screaming and nobody was helping.”


With his own daughter by his side, Sabalauskas hopes someone else would rush into action for her.


Sabalauskas was only able to speak with the victim for a moment and he never got her name.


RESOURCE LINK with video


‘I Owe You My Life’:

Victim From Center City Attack Meets Good Samaritan Who Saved Her



PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – John Sabalauskas came to the rescue of a young woman Thursday in broad daylight. He didn’t even get her name.

Now the victim is talking.


“I just had a gut feeling that somebody might have been behind me. Then I turned around and it was too late,” the victim, whose identity is being withheld by Eyewitness News, said.


She said around 2 p.m. on Thursday at a busy 21st and Chestnut Street that a man threw her onto the ground and wrestled to remove her backpack.


“I remember screaming, ‘Help, help,’ and then I saw people just going across the street,” she said.


The victim is a student at Drexel University and works two jobs.


She feared that she was going to die, yet no one stopped to help her until Sabalauskas heard her cries.


When asked if she would like to meet Sabalauskas, the victim said she would.


“I would actually like to meet him in person,” she said, “but we talked on the phone earlier today.”


Little did she know, Sabalauskas was parked on Market Street and wanted to surprise her.


On Friday, the young woman and her good Samaritan met again under far better circumstances.


She had a message of gratitude for Sabalauskas.


“I owe you my life,” she said. “Make sure we stay in touch and in contact.”


She has one message for other victims and potential victims of crime and violence in Philadelphia.


“Be aware,” she said. “Things happen anytime and don’t blame yourself.”


Many people commented over how proud Sabalauskas’ young daughter was of him in the story published Thursday night.


On Friday, Eyewitness News found out that the victim’s father reached out to Sabalauskas as well to say thank you.


RESOURCE LINK with video

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