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Trucker, family connect with ‘guardian angel’ who helped after near-fatal crash

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Posted at 7:35 AM, Jul 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 07:35:30-04

MUSKEGON, Mich. — If you told Paul Maksim and Issac Tyson just a week ago that they would be talking about their lives on a Zoom call, they would have never believed it.

“Dude, it's good to see you alive, man,” said Tyson.

“Yeah, it feels good to be alive, bro,” Maksim replied.

“God definitely has a purpose for you. Because I don't think he should have made it through that one,” Tyson added.

What Tyson is referring to is a crash that nearly took Maksim’s life.

On June 23, he pulled up to the scene of a wreck on US-31 in Norton Shores. There he found Maksim in his semitruck, which was flattened up against a pillar of an overpass.

Maksim, a 28-year-old trucker from Rockford, Illinois, was making a delivery when he hydroplaned on the wet highway and lost control.

He was rescued, rushed to the hospital, and while he suffered extensive injuries, miraculously he lives to tell the tale.

“I ended up breaking everything in my lower [half], in my abdomen, like my entire pelvis and my femur. Everything is gone, but I'm good,” Maksim explained.

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Paul Maksim is recovering after a near-fatal wreck in Muskegon County.

After the crash and while in the hospital, Maksim told his wife, Courtney, about a man named Issac, one of the few things he remembered after the accident. He explained that Issac hopped up into his truck, held his hand, and talked with him, keeping him alert until first responders got there.

Courtney reached out to FOX 17 to see if we could help find him. “I want to thank him; my husband wants to thank him,” she told FOX 17 Tuesday.

Through the power of the internet, they got that chance Thursday.

To see someone put their heart in to do something and want to make sure someone's okay and especially my husband, my husband, he really is my world, and to know that somebody cared as much is amazing,” Courtney told Issac on Zoom.

All I could think to do is just keep him calm, and I don't know if you remember this, Paul, but I kept telling you to focus on your breathing and keep breathing, keep breathing, because I could tell he was in a lot of pain,” Issac explained.

“I was just trying to keep him from going into shock and trying to reassure him that he was gonna make it,” Issac said. “I really didn't do that much.”

Issac, a Marine Corps Veteran, is as humble of a guy you could meet.

“I was just gonna ask if you guys need anything; I have family in Sparta not far away,” he said on the Zoom call.

Maybe that’s just the type of guy who will stop on the highway to help a total stranger.

“We really wanted to reach out and just thank you because he is a father; he is our world. He is a husband, he is a son, and to be treated that way instead of just a truck driver is something amazing,” Courtney added.

“Well, you're...you're very welcome. I'm just glad you're doing well, just brings me joy,” Issac replied.

Issac and Paul plan on keeping in touch. Paul’s family meanwhile is waiting to see if he can be transferred to a hospital closer to their home in Illinois, but they've felt the love from their adopted home in Muskegon.

"I didn't expect to get this much attention and, like, so much support from from the Muskegon community. It's amazing; it's amazing how the community came together," Paul added.

If you would like to help the Maksim family out during this tough time, click here.