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‘I figured I had to act’: Montreal honours driver who used SUV to shield pedestrians

Erick Marciano smiles alongside Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante after signing the Golden Book at City Hall in Montreal, Monday, November 18, 2019. Marciano used his SUV to block a getaway car from potentially plowing into pedestrians at busy intersection in Montreal.
Erick Marciano smiles alongside Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante after signing the Golden Book at City Hall in Montreal, Monday, November 18, 2019. Marciano used his SUV to block a getaway car from potentially plowing into pedestrians at busy intersection in Montreal. Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Erick Marciano says he doesn’t consider himself a hero for using his SUV to shield pedestrians from a speeding car last week in Montreal.

“It was just a natural thing to do,” the 48-year-old said Monday, “and if I had to do it again, I would do it again.”

But others would say Marciano is overly modest.

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As she presented Marciano with a certificate of honour and invited him to sign the city’s Golden Book Monday, Mayor Valérie Plante praised Marciano’s act of courage. Plante said he showed “remarkable heroism” when he pulled his vehicle in front of a driver fleeing police at a busy intersection.

“To commit such a bold act, at the risk of his personal safety, to protect the life of pedestrians is among the most admirable acts of bravery,” she told journalists at city hall.

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The 48-year-old father of three said he was only doing his duty when he made the split-second decision to act.

He said he was sitting in his vehicle on Nov. 12 when he saw the driver barrelling towards an intersection filled with people, with police in pursuit.

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His mind flashed to stories of drivers mowing down pedestrians in Europe, and h

He didn’t want that to happen in Montreal. Honking his horn, he pulled in front of the driver.

“I figured I had to act,” he said.

Marciano managed to get out of his car just before the collision and wasn’t hurt, but his SUV suffered serious damage in the crash with the suspect’s vehicle. The 19-year-old suspect was arrested and is facing several charges in connection with the incident.

Marciano, a general contractor, said he’s both amused and honoured by all the attention he’s been getting. He said the last person to sign the Golden Book was world-renowned teen environmental activist Greta Thunberg — “so that’s pretty cool.”

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While Marciano spoke modestly about his gesture, it was no surprise to his wife, Michelle.

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“He’s always thinking about others and always puts himself before others, so it’s just something he does,” she said at the small ceremony, which was also attended by the couple’s three teenage children and Marciano’s parents.

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But despite the praise for her husband, she said he won’t be borrowing her car any time soon.

“Never, ever,” she said with a laugh.