A New Jersey man who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident this summer had a surprise reunion with the stranger who police say helped saved his life.
Rufus Graham on Wednesday met Walter Rives, a former armed guard for NASA who stopped to apply his belt as a tourniquet after Graham’s leg was severed in an accident in Burlington on July 5. Rives had been driving on Route 130 to his brother’s engagement party at the same time that Graham lost control of his motorcycle and collided with a metal road sign.
“I was thinking I was watching a guy die in front of me — just taking his last breaths,” Rives said.
Police credit the tourniquet that Rives applied to Graham’s leg with helping to keep him alive.
“I remember looking at his face. I didn’t get his name or anything,” Graham said. “I’ve been wanting to meet him.”
Graham spent weeks in the hospital undergoing surgeries and was outfitted with a prosthetic leg last week. A friend set up the surprise reunion as he tested out the new leg at a rehabilitation center.
“I think I’m really blessed to be here,” Graham said. “I want to make the best of it. Not everybody gets second chances.”