Utah man hailed as hero after losing a leg while pushing stranger out of harm’s way

Posted at 10:32 PM, Oct 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-08 00:32:18-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- This week a husband and father from Summit County risked his own life to save a stranger when he pushed a woman out of the way of an oncoming car.

The man ended up losing a leg in the process, and he is at the University of Utah Hospital recovering.

"He just gave himself for someone he didn't even know, and he didn't even think about the consequences, he just did it," said his wife, Rebecka Pearson.

It was around midnight Wednesday along I-80 in Parley's Canyon. Keenan Pearson and another driver had both slid off the road. Keenan was helping the woman in the other car when a third driver also lost control and went barreling right toward them.

"The way that the patrol officer says, he threw her out of the way and then he took the full impact," Pearson said.

Keenan's right leg was badly injured. He was rushed to the hospital. Rebecka remembers receiving a phone call from the doctor. She said it was like waking up to a nightmare.

"He's like everything is gone, tendon is gone, tissue is gone, no way, the leg is already starting to die, we can't save it, then I'm like, 'chop it off.'"

Despite such a devastating injury, Rebecka said her husband remained selfless.

"One of the first questions he asked once he was conscious enough was, is the girl OK that he threw? And I was like, 'she is fine.'"

Rebecka is worried about her family's future, considering Keenan was the only one with a full-time job and they have two young children they need to take care of.

"He asked where daddy was and I was like, 'daddy's got a big owie right now,' and he was like get a Band Aid, and I was like, 'he is getting a really big band aid.'"

A GoFundMe account, Pearson Recovery Fund, has been set up to help the family pay for their medical expenses.

As for the other two people involved in the crash, both walked away with minor injuries. According to UHP, no charges have been filed in this case. It's just being called an accident.