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Friday, December 24, 2010

12/24/10 Christmas miracle? Good Samaritans save Greenwich couple

Craig and Debbie Walker Stapleton shudder at the sight of the insurance adjuster's photos of their Volvo station wagon, its front end charred beyond recognition.

The Greenwich couple -- he a former U.S. ambassador to France and the Czech Republic and she a second cousin of former President George W. Bush -- were on their way to New Haven for dinner Dec. 4 when their car started to smolder.

And they didn't even realize it.

Riding in the lane next to them on Interstate 95 near Exit 27 were William Claudio and Nelly Cruz of Bridgeport.

"My husband looked over and noticed the whole bottom of the car in flames," said Cruz, 35. "I rolled down my passenger window. I beeped the horn. So I'm telling them to pull over. I'm screaming at them. I'm going crazy."

Thanks to the quick-thinking good Samaritans -- one an out-of-work carpenter and the other a preschool teacher -- the Stapletons managed to escape.

"Within five minutes, this thing was engulfed," said Debbie Stapleton, 64. "The car was just incinerated."

It took a battalion chief, two engines and a ladder company half an hour to quell the inferno, according to Capt. Ed McCann of the Bridgeport Fire Department, which responded to the northbound shoulder of the highway at 6:27 p.m. Dec. 4.

The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.

The Stapletons, who have two grown children and three grandchildren, are calling it a case of divine intervention.

"It was a miracle. It was a Christmas miracle," Debbie Stapleton said. "It was a carpenter, his wife and baby. I love the symbolism."

The baby was actually the couple's 18-month-old godson, Leighlen Wyatt Morris, whom they were taking to Wal-Mart to buy Christmas presents.

Little did the immigrants from Puerto Rico know that they saved their greatest gift for perfect strangers.

"Our biggest concern was getting them pulled over and out of their car and safe," said Cruz, 35, who works at Tutor Time in Norwalk.

Not only did they flag the Stapletons down, but the good Samaritans waited with them until help arrived.

"I wasn't going to leave them until we knew that they were safe," said Cruz, who, coincidentally, shares the same first name as Debbie Stapleton's late grandmother.

The Stapletons bought the V70 station wagon eight years ago in Prague, where he was serving as ambassador at the time.

"It only had 40,000 miles on it," Debbie Stapleton said. "We kept that thing serviced."

Craig Stapleton, 65, said the steering wheel was acting strangely during the ride. Then, he noticed a funny odor that he brushed off as pollution. Never did he suspect that he and his wife were in imminent danger. When they finally did pull over, they thought they simply had a flat tire.

The two couples were reunited for the first time since the incident on Tuesday at Stapleton's Greenwich real estate management office.

"Thank you," Stapleton said, hugging both Cruz and Claudio, who is 36.

Cruz said she and her husband, who speaks little English, just reacted out of instinct.

"We don't consider ourselves heroes," Cruz said. "We were just placed at the right place at the right time. Really it wasn't our doing. It was God's."

A tearful Debbie Stapleton, who gave the couple a poinsettia basket and a gift certificate to a Norwalk restaurant, said she is forever indebted to the couple for saving her life and allowing her to spend more cherished time with her grandchildren.

"We were blessed by these Christmas angels," Stapleton said.


12/24/10 The Greenwich First Selectman Report

Blog Posts About Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei
Servicemen returning home to Greenwich honored - Greenwich Real Time...
By Francis MacEachern
Among those on hand welcoming Fanell and Schiano were First Selectmen Peter Tesei, and fellow selectmen David Theis and Dru Marzullo. State Rep. Alfred Camillo, R-151 also attended. Well-wishers hold American flags as they wait to greet ...
Greenwich Real Time - http://blog.greenwichtime.com/realtime/

12/24/10 The Raw Greenwich Blog Feed

Blog Posts About Greenwich, CT
Hooray 4 Hollywood » 2008 Academy Award Nominee to Speak at New ...
By admin
Chris Jenkins has moved from California and Sony Pictures Animation to Greenwich CT where he now works for Blue Sky Studios in Greenwich CT. Mr. Jenkins was an effects animator for Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid, ...
Hooray 4 Hollywood - http://www.hooray4hollywood.com/

Please send your comments, news tips and press releases to GreenwichRoundup@gmail.com

12/24/10 The Raw Greenwich News Feed

Colleagues More Than Happy to Go Running After the Boss
New York Times
Joseph Bastianich, owner of Becco, a Manhattan restaurant, running near his home in Greenwich, Conn. By SHIVANI VORA GETTING into shape is a popular New ...

New York Times
Money manager uses 'Horse Sense'
Ct Post
He sits in his office in Greenwich, Conn. on Wednesday December 15, 2010. Photo: Kathleen O'Rourke / Stamford Advocate | Buy This Photo Sound investing is ...
W. R. Berkley Corporation to Announce Fourth Quarter Earnings on February 2, 2011
Business Wire (press release)
GREENWICH, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--WR Berkley Corporation (NYSE: WRB) will release its fourth quarter 2010 earnings after the market closes on February 2, ...

Please send your comments, news tips and press releases to GreenwichRoundup@gmail.com

GREENWICH BRIEFING: Quest for Rye's Best Soup, Part II

This Just In To The Greenwich Roundup Newsroom .....
Greenwich News - December 24, 2010
Soups are endless, and to me they can be endlessly appealing. There are soups for every occasion, for every taste, made with just about every possible ingredient: they can run from a fine broth to heartier, meaty, lumpy, and fully stocked with vegetables, legumes, pasta, meats, poultry, fish and seafood.
Vince Gallagher, owner of Thoroughbred Partners, has written a book titled "Horse Sense" about investing and horse racing.
Record (Greenwich Citizen)
The Bendheim Western Greenwich Civic Center is holding registration for children from ages 6-9 years old for basketball clinics during the school holiday recess that takes place Dec.
Handel, with care (Greenwich Citizen)
Marianne Ekernas, left, chairperson of the Music Committee at First Congregational Church, looks over hymnals with Barbara Norrgard and Pat Geismar.
Photo (Greenwich Citizen)
Guests Barbara Manley and Nancy K. Smith enjoyed the performances at the recent Gateway benefit.
Please send your comments, news tips and press releases to Greenwichroundup@gmail.com
The popularity of the Mercedes E-Class stems from its strengths in every area that counts: luxury, performance, safety and prestige.

The Raw Greenwich Blog And RSS Feed - Bloggers Who Are From, Work In Or Used To Live In Greenwich