Allan Wood survived Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge, but a stroll across Riverside Avenue earlier this week nearly did him in.
The 90-year-old veteran of World War II was nearly run down by a driver speeding around the corner from Monroe Street as Wood and his wife, Flo, crossed the avenue in front of the Masonic Temple after a Kiwanis meeting at the Spokane Club at about 1 p.m. Tuesday.
The vehicle missed Wood, who walks with the help of a cane. But in trying to move out of its way, he fell and knocked himself out.
“The driver slowed down after he fell, looked at him and then drove off,” Flo Wood said.
The Fire Department was called and Wood was taken by ambulance to the Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center emergency room, where the couple spent the rest of the afternoon.
Wood said Thursday the whole side of his face is black and blue, his knee is cracked and his elbow may be, too.
Wood was the subject of a Spokesman-Review article, “An Uncommon Bond,” on Feb. 20 that told of his chance meeting in a Spokane hospital room with a Dutch priest he helped liberate 67 years ago while serving with the 82nd Airborne Division.
The priest, Arnold Schoffelmeer, was a seminary student at the time in Nijmegen, Holland.
“You saved my town. You saved my life,” Schoffelmeer told Wood, who received the Bronze Star for combat valor and a Purple Heart.
Although Tuesday’s accident fell short of a hit-and-run, the Woods think the woman driving the car “needs to be responsible.”
“I didn’t get her car license, but I got a good look at the car and a good look at her,” Flo Wood said.
A Spokane Police Department spokeswoman said there is no video of the incident and likely nothing that can be done in the matter. The couple apparently were crossing outside the crosswalk, Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said. She reminded the public to use crosswalks.
The Spokane Regional Health District is conducting a pedestrian safety campaign. For information visit http://stickmanknows.org/
Wood is recovering at home.
“You can’t hold a World War II veteran down,” his wife said.