It was just another cold winter morning until Valerie Guerrero’s car hit a patch of black ice on Interstate 80 while she was traveling eastbound between Winnemucca and Battle Mountain on her way home to Montana on Dec. 15. 

The accident report from the Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) confirms that Guerrero’s vehicle rolled after sliding on black ice, hitting the median and a paddle marker. She sustained eight broken ribs, a broken lower back, four different breaks in her leg, a major blow to her head, and many other minor injuries. 

Yelling for help and in excruciating pain in her mangled vehicle, Guerrero’s Apple Watch detected the accident with Accident Recognition and immediately dialed 911. Guerrero was able to weakly respond to the 911 dispatcher and confirm that she needed help, despite her watch being on the arm that became dislocated from her shoulder and was resting behind her head. 

As she waited there in shock in the frigid cold of 2 a.m. weather, caught under the steering wheel of her Toyota 4Runner, Guerrero was suddenly greeted by the “kind and gentle” voice of a stranger who said he had seen the accident. He placed his black Kinco gloves on her hands, gave her water and comforted her and held her hand while she waited for the ambulance to arrive. 

“He said he saw it all. He saw when I started sliding … he gave me a blanket too. I was so scared and I was shaking and I was starting to lose consciousness a little bit and he would tap my cheek and wake me back up,” Guerrero recounted emotionally. 

The stranger stayed with Guerrero, keeping her from passing out and waiting for the sound of sirens with her. 

“When the ambulance got there, he let my hand go and said, ‘You take care of yourself now,’ and then he was gone and he didn't get his gloves back from my hands,” Guerrero said. “The gloves are the kind you don't ever want to lose or leave behind because of this cold weather but I would really like to give them back  because I don't think I would have made it had he not found me … I would just really like to thank him for stopping for a person who he didn't even know.”

NHP reports stated that Guerrero was transferred to Battle Mountain General Hospital after ambulances arrived. She later regained consciousness in a hospital room at Renown Hospital in Reno, Nev., according to her, and once she was healthy enough to type, she went to Facebook, looking for help from anyone who might have heard about the accident and know the kind stranger that stopped to help her. 

“I have your gloves, I [would] like to return them and tell you how grateful I am for you saving my life,” Guerrero said in her post. 

Guerrero said that she does not remember the stranger’s face because of the shock and the injury to her head, but she remembers his voice and of course—his incredible kindness. 

“The only positive memory I have of all this is the gentleman who held my hand and said everything was gonna be okay,” said Guererro. 

Guerrero had been traveling from her home in Montana to Nevada in order to change the name on the title of her 4Runner, which the accident report from NHP confirms had major damage. She said she is upset that she will not be able to use her vehicle (her reason for traveling), but she is very thankful to be alive.  

According to Guerrero, she has made slow progress and is starting to feel better. She was recently released to move to a hospital back near her home in Montana where she is continuing to try to heal and still trying to identify the kind stranger that helped her that fateful night. Guerrero can be reached through her Facebook messages under the name “Vale Wilson”.

The last year has been exceptionally hard for Guererro after losing both her mother and husband to COVID in 2022. 

Because of the extensive injuries she suffered, Guererro is unable to work and still has a ways to go in her recovery. She has started a GoFundMe account in order to help pay for medical expenses that her insurance will not cover, as well as help with expenses associated with her vehicle sustaining major damage, which can be accessed at https://gofund.me/0a61f8de

“I’m not going to let this accident defeat me,” said Guerrero.