The family of a motorcyclist who lost his life on a Valley freeway this week is speaking out to thank the families of the Good Samaritans who stayed by his side until his last breath.
Johnny Youngblood just got his motorcycle a month ago. His mother called it is "mid-life crisis." She describes him as a safe rider.
Youngblood's ex-wife Janail Jolly said he had expressed concerns to others about impatient drivers on the road cutting him off and the hazards of road debris.
Witnesses who were there on Interstate 17 and Loop 101, just south of Yorkshire where this crash took place, have told the family that Youngblood swerved to avoid tire debris on the freeway.
DPS officials said Youngblood fell off his bike, but that is not what killed him. The war veteran who survived two tours of duty in Iraq died in a freak accident on a Phoenix freeway.
Several Good Samaritans stopped to help Youngblood. Beverly Click, a St. Vincent De Paul food bank employee, was one of them. Click parked her car on the side of the road.
DPS officials said driver Brian Higbee was unable to stop his car, struck Click's stopped vehicle, then crashed and killed Click and Youngblood. Two other Good Samaritans are still in the hospital struggling with serious injuries.
"I'm sorry she lost her life and everything. I'm thankful. She is an angel," Patsy Youngblood said.
The family was really struggling to understand how this accident could have occurred.
"I can't understand, they could stop, so why couldn't the other driver stop?" she questioned.
"I'm hoping I wake up and it's all a dream. I've been saying that for two days, but it's not going to happen, because I've gone to the coroner's office and it's not going to happen," said Youngblood, as she broke down sobbing.
Janail Jolly said while the two were divorced, Youngblood and her had remained close. She described him as the kind of man who smiled and said hi to everyone he passed by — even strangers.
She worked with Youngblood at a local bank and said he was on his way to work on the morning of this crash. His job was to help victims of fraud.
"He would have been alone and thanks to these good people who stopped, he was not alone, so thank you," said Jolly.
Youngblood's sister had strong words for the driver responsible for the crash that killed her brother.
"To the man that's responsible for it, I hope he sees the face of these children and maybe the next time he decides to drive, he will pay attention, because he still has his life," Jennifer Youngblood said.
His family is raising funds for funeral expenses and to help support his children.
DPS officials said all drivers who saw any type of debris on the roadway should call 911.
"Troopers respond to debris calls every single day all over the state. We try to get debris removed as quickly as possible and we consider debris an emergency response," a DPS spokesperson said.
DPS officials stressed that drivers should not try to get out and remove the road debris themselves. It often required two troopers to do the job.
DPS officials are also reminding drivers to pay attention to the roads.
"Most times you will be able to perceive debris and other roadway incidents with enough time to react," officials said.
With the summer heating up, more tire blowouts could lead to more debris on the roads. DPS officials are reminding everyone to get their tires inspected as a precaution.