Two good Samaritans may have saved an Illinois woman’s life after she was allegedly beaten with a hammer and doused with gasoline by her fiance’s brother.
Ryan Flannery, 30, saw the woman, Amanda Zelko, bloody and slumped near the front porch of a house in Joliet, Illinois, and stopped his car to see if she needed help, People reports.
“I was on my way back from getting gas when I saw her,” said Flannery. “I stopped and asked a teenage boy who was standing there if everything was OK and he yelled, ‘No!'”
He said that the 32-year-old Zelko had been burned and “was covered head to toe in blood,” according to the Independent Journal Review.
Flannery said that when he asked the woman what had happened, she “started screaming, ‘He tried to kill me! He hit me with a hammer! He tried to light me on fire!'”
Zelko says her fiance’s brother, Timothy Gregory, 36, assaulted her with a hammer before pouring gasoline on her and attempting to light her on fire.
Flannery retrieved a blanket from his car while the teenage boy called 911 to get help for Zelko. As they sat outside of a neighbor’s home and waited for authorities to arrive, Gregory reportedly came out of the garage.
“He looked surprised,” Flannery recalled. “Because I think he thought she was still inside, and wondered how she got out.”
Gregory allegedly began to approach Flannery, who said that it was “the scariest part.” Flannery ran to his car and picked up a welding hammer from his trunk, telling Gregory to stay away. The man then went back inside, before coming out again from the front door before Flannery says “the whole house went up in flames.”
When police arrived, they found Gregory standing in the driveway with blood on his hands and jeans. They also found a hammer and a bottle of lighter fluid at the scene. Gregory was arrested after the woman told officers he was the one who attacked her.
Zelko was taken to a hospital to treat her injuries, and was put into a medically induced coma. Her prognosis is reportedly “good.”
Flannery, who said that he hopes the attacker “rots in jail,” said that he was just glad that Zelko will likely survive.
- “God put me on that street at that moment for a reason,” Flannery said.
- Zelko’s mother said she was grateful to the people who helped save her daughter.
“There is kindness in the world,” the mother said. “People are kind and caring and stopped and took the time to help my daughter in her time of need.”
Gregory was charged with seven counts including residential arson, aggravated battery and aggravated arson. He is being held in lieu of $2 million bail and was ordered to stay away from Zelko and her fiance.