Attleboro's Lisa Palmucci poses with the two men who saved her in February when her vehicle, background, went out of control on Pleasant Street after she had a seizure. Palmucci wants both Matt Braga, left, and Abdeslam "Abdul" Aouni - who stopped her car after she had a seizure at the Super Petroleum service station - honored with a Carnegie Hero award nomination. (Staff photo by Tom Maguire)
The woman who suffered a seizure while driving and was rescued from her out-of-control car by two good Samaritans wants both men to be recognized for their fast work in a dangerous situation.
Lisa Palmucci, who passed out from the attack while driving east on Pleasant Street one day last February, stepped forward this week to praise both Abdeslam "Abdul" Aouni and Matt Braga, who teamed up to stop the car before it crashed.
Her identity was not previously known, but she contacted The Sun Chronicle when she read a story about the fact that Braga was nominated for a prestigious Carnegie Hero award while Aouni was not.
"I really hope he's included in the nomination," Palmucci said. "It was a team effort. Without either, it could have turned bad."
The thought of that potentially catastrophic February day still haunts her, and she's grateful that two strangers were in the right place at the right time and were willing to put themselves in jeopardy to help her.
Palmucci was on an errand during a lunch break from work when the seizure hit and she lost consciousness. That's the last thing she remembers.
"The next thing I knew, I was being wheeled into the hospital. I remember the paramedics explaining to the nurses that I'd had a seizure," she said.
Palmucci has recovered, and is back at work. She's now on anti-seizure medication.
But she's very aware the outcome could have been different.
Palmucci lost consciousness while driving through the busy downtown intersection of Pleasant and Emory streets. She was rolling out-of-control toward a downhill slope and a curve when a pedestrian noticed, and started screaming "stop that car," according to witnesses.
She could easily have drifted into oncoming traffic that's often traveling at 30 miles-per-hour or more at that spot.
A crash could have been devastating for other drivers, as well as herself.
"If I got into a head-on collision, I could really have hurt someone," Palmucci said. "It's really sobering for me to realize that. Thank God nothing happened."
And the near miss gives Palmucci, who's a single mother, chills to realize her 15-year-old son and 21-year-old daughter could have been left alone.
"Because of these gentlemen, a potential tragedy was averted," she said.
Aouni, who pumps gas at the Super Petroleum on the corner of Pleasant and Emory gave chase to Palmucci's car that was rolling at an estimated 5 to 10 mph with the engine running, according to witnesses.
He caught up with it at Holman Street, where Pleasant starts to dip and managed to open the driver's door which was unlatched and put his hand on the brake.
Meanwhile Braga, the city's parking enforcement officer, who was also alerted by the pedestrian, jumped out of his city vehicle and ran to Palmucci's car. He entered through the passenger door and was able to shift the car into park.
Palmucci, who works as the office manager for a materials handling company at 21 Park St., said the action of the two men renews her faith in humanity.
"You see so few people willing to put themselves out for a total stranger," she said. "But to see these two men jump into action reaffirms my faith in people."