June 10 was shaping up as just another day for White Sox scout John Kazanas, who was on his way from Phoenix to Las Vegas for the Area Code Games tryouts.
He was driving north out of Wickenburg, Ariz., heading toward Kingman on Highway 93—a notorious stretch Kazanas called a “white cross highway” because of the many deadly accidents that occur on it. On this particular Tuesday, Kazanas saw one of those accidents unfold right in front of him.
Kazanas watched as a truck, about a football field away with a camper hitched to the back, merged into the left lane, seemingly unaware of the van there with Hollee Dunnam and her three children.
“Once it hit the van, the van went tumbling into the center median and rolled six or seven times,” Kazanas said. “Debris started flying on the road. The vehicle behind the van obviously didn’t want to do anything with the accident, avoided the debris and continued to move on.”
But driving past a life-threatening accident was a ludicrous thought for Kazanas. He pulled off the road and ran toward the battered car.
The doors on the vehicle were jammed shut, so Kazanas went through the broken glass of one of the windows to help the kids who were in the back. Before long, a trucker stopped and helped open the door to get Hollee Dunnam out of the front of the car.
After getting everyone out, it was clear there were no life-threatening injuries. Six-year-old Payton could have scars on her arms from being cut by the glass, and Hollee is currently in physical therapy after injuring her shoulder, but the Dunnam family is thankful that nothing worse came of it.
And they’re thankful that Kazanas had the humanity to stop and help, while others simply drove by.
“I was extremely upset by the simple fact that the person behind my wife saw it and just drove by,” said Hollee’s husband Donovan, who was at work when the accident took place. “And the gentleman that caused the accident just stopped up ahead—didn’t come back to see if she was OK.
“John stopped, and I think he was more irate than anyone.”
Kazanas said he was baffled by the actions of other witnesses.
“The right thing to do is to help your fellow man,” he said. “The point is, how did the vehicle behind the van watch this thing just tumble right next to it—over and over and over again—decide, ‘Eh, I’ll keep going.’
“I mean I just can’t stand that as somebody’s thought process.”
Donovan and his family will always remember that John couldn’t just drive by. He had to help.
“He kept my kids calm, talked sports with my middle son Ethan and just stayed there the whole time,” Donovan said. “He had places to go, but he took time out of his day to stop for a wife and kids that he didn’t know. That’s just a testament that you don’t have to be a firefighter or a cop to be a hero.
“The story people should know—especially the White Sox organization, is what kind of scout they have . . . He risked his life to help my wife and save my children and I’m forever grateful of that.”