Family thanks Bridgeport man who tried to save crash victim’s life

Malik Shabaaz, 52, of Bridgeport says he will never forget what happened near Exit 27A off I-95 early Sunday morning. He was coming home from work when a car in front of him lost control, hit a snowbank and landed on its roof.

News 12 Staff

Feb 27, 2021, 11:54 AM

Updated 1,179 days ago

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The family of a local Army veteran who was killed in Bridgeport is thanking a good Samaritan for trying to save his life.
Malik Shabaaz, 52, of Bridgeport says he will never forget what happened near Exit 27A off I-95 early Sunday morning. He was coming home from work when a car in front of him lost control, hit a snowbank and landed on its roof – injuring the driver, 56-year-old Army veteran Benjamin Smith, of Norwalk and his passenger, Walter Dominguez.
Shabaaz says he used his own car to shield the vehicle from oncoming traffic. He and another good Samaritan, Travis Martin, then focused on getting Dominguez out of the wrecked vehicle.
"We pulled him through the window because his door wouldn't open," Shabaaz told News 12. “I didn't know whether the car was going to explode…I just wanted to get him away from the car."
Smith had to be cut out of the car and later died from his injuries.
Smith's family says they are grateful to Shabaaz for trying to rescue him — a gifted mason and Dallas Cowboys fan who was very proud of his service to country.
"I didn't know that he didn't make it until the next morning," says Shabaaz. “I wasn't really sure how to handle it…and I kept thinking in my mind, was there anything that I could have done differently? I don't think so, but the good thing is at least he had somebody there for him at that last moment."
Shabaaz' own family reminded him that he helped save one life. Dominguez is home and expected to make a full recovery.
Shabaaz told News 12 that he spent 13 years in federal prison on a nonviolent weapons charge, and that he welcomes any opportunity to do good for others.
“I've done a lot of wrong things in the past and I try to make up anyway I can,” he says. “I think there was a reason I was meant to be there.”


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