Cheryl Gallet is not fond of being called a hero despite having possibly saving the lives of a woman and her unborn child.
“I’d hope any human being would help out another human being,” Gallet said.
While the hero label may not feel comfortable on Gallet, she is – befitting where she works as a nurse – a good Samaritan.
Gallet, 58, of Lemont, has worked at Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove since 2007. She’s been a nurse for 35 years.
Now an operating room nurse, she’s had her share of excitement in the emergency room. She’s even helped people after two other motor vehicle accidents, “but not to this extent.”
The extent of this accident, shortly after 6:30 a.m. on Oct. 20, is like something out of a movie.
But Gallet’s quick response - along with help from two unidentified men - may have saved Miranda Rosasco and her unborn baby.
Rosasco, 25, of Naperville, was driving her new black Honda HRV north on Interstate 355, nearing the exit for Interstate 88, en route to her special education teaching job at Hall Elementary School in Glendale Heights.
Then, a vehicle merging from another lane hit the right side of her car.
“My car went sideways,” Rosasco said. “I don’t remember a whole lot after that. My car got hit several times. ...My car flipped over and landed on the roof.”
Upside down, she began honking her horn to get attention.
“It was very scary,” she said. “I didn’t know if I’d be hit again. The air bags (had been deployed) so I couldn’t see out the windows.”
The first-time mother in her 21st week of pregnancy was worried as her seatbelt was “so tight around my stomach.”
Rosasco soon heard voices outside her car. They belonged to Gallet and another good Samaritan. She and that man were able to open the car door and help her out.
A second man who used a water bottle to douse flames seen escaping the car’s grill vanished into the darkness, Gallet said.
“Cheryl was so helpful,” Rosasco said. “She pulled me off to safe spot. She was extremely comforting. I’ve very grateful she was there to help me.”
Gallet, who didn’t see the accident happen, nearly hit a truck in front of her as traffic in all lanes screeched to a halt. She saw several fender-benders and “a car all by itself upside-down and backward.”
Gallet parked and ran to the car. “I tried to comfort her, especially after finding out she was pregnant.”
“I don’t know if it was nursing instincts,” Gallet said of her response. “I just know it wasn’t right and no one was there. Someone had to go make sure to see if that person needed any help.”
“You just do what you’ve got to do,” she said.
Rosasco spent a few hours at Edwards Hospital in Naperville where it was determined she and her unborn daughter were okay.
She called Gallet later that evening “to thank her.” The women reunited for the first time since that morning for a news conference at Good Samaritan Hospital on Nov. 24
Jimmy Rosasco, 30, Miranda’s husband of three years, said he “couldn’t process what I was hearing” after she called him at home.
“It was the worst morning of my life, like a nightmare,” he said. “(Cheryl) is our hero. She saved the baby and my wife. We couldn’t be more grateful.”
He, his family and Miranda’s family have showered Gallet with gifts.
There is another Rosasco connection to Gallet.
Jimmy and Miranda’s sister-in-law, Stephanie Rosasco –married to Jimmy’s brother, Brian, and also expecting in March - works at Good Samaritan.
A nuclear medicine tech in the radiology department, she did not know Gallet before the accident, but was sure to find her.
“I gave her a big hug and some gifts from our family, but what do you give someone who saved someone’s life?” Stephanie said.
Speaking the day before Thanksgiving, Gallet said the accident “puts things into perspective.”
“As a society, we take things for granted,” Gallet said. “I think we need to look out for each other and be thankful for the little things that really aren’t that little. They’re actually very big.”
Chief Nursing Officer Roseanne Niese said “a good Samaritan is a good description of Cheryl.”
“She truly does represent nursing here at Good Samaritan Hospital,” Niese said. “She truly is a wonderful person and I’m totally not surprised she did this.”
Miranda’s parents, Kelly and Andy Wehrli, both 56, of Oswego, attended the Nov. 24 reunion. Kelly teared up hearing the story told.
She said Miranda called her from the ambulance, saying her car rolled over. “I said ‘Oh, my God. The baby. The baby’.”
Kelly called Andy. On his way to work, he drove straight to the hospital: “Guardian angels (were) watching over my daughter.”
Asked if the baby girl due March 8 will be named Cheryl, Miranda laughed.
“We do have a name picked out,” she said, “but we haven’t shared it.”