Good Samaritan tried to help gas station crash victim

Michael Seyoum, 53, died following crash and fire on Sunday

Martinez Stevenson
Martinez Stevenson speaks to 24 Hour News 8 the day after he stopped to help a man following a car crash and fire at a Kalamazoo gas station. (Jan. 23, 2017)


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A man involved in a crash and fire at a Kalamazoo gas station Sunday evening died despite the best efforts of good Samaritans who tried to save him.

Police say 53-year-old Michael Seyoum was pumping gas at the Speedway on S. Westnedge Avenue near Denway Drive when a woman in her 70s crashed into the pump. The pump fell, trapping the victim below it. A fire ignited as gasoline pooled in the area.

Martinez Stevenson was driving in the area, noticed the flames and stopped to help.

“It was a fire that wasn’t supposed to be there,” Stevenson, 23, told 24 Hour News 8 Monday. “I just stopped.”

Stevenson said he saw Seyoum’s daughter helplessly nearby as gasoline continued to pour out from the fallen pump.

“I just knew I had to get him out of there,” Stevenson said.

He was able to get ahold of Seyoum’s leg and free him from beneath the pump, he said. Other witnesses also began to try to help the victim.

S. Westnedge Avenue, Speedway, crash, fire
This still image taken from Facebook Live shows the scene after the crash. (Courtesy Raheem Maddox – Jan. 22, 2017)

Video of the aftermath captured by a witness streaming the scene on Facebook Live shows first responders performing CPR on the victim before he was taken away by ambulance.

Seyoum was pronounced dead at an area hospital, Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety officials said.

“I was devastated,” Stevenson said about learning the man had died. “I felt bad for his daughter because she witnessed it.”

S. Westnedge Avenue, Speedway, crash, fire
This still image taken from Facebook Live shows the scene after the crash. (Courtesy Raheem Maddox – Jan. 22, 2017)

Details about how the crash happened were not released as of Monday evening as police continued their investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident. Police confirmed that surveillance video is among the evidence they are reviewing.

Monday afternoon, Kalamazoo County prosecutors said the case remained under investigation and had not yet been forwarded to their office for review.

Stevenson said he is glad he was there to try and help a person in need. He says the incident changed his perspective on life.

“Any day could be your last,” Stevenson said. “You have to be thankful for who you have in your life and every moment that you have with them ’cause it could be gone any second.”