Can this retiree, who stopped to help, save a football player’s life?

As a car hurtled along N.E. 4th Street toward him at more than 300 miles per hour, San Francisco 49ers safety Antoine Bethea thought he’d die: “Oh my God, Oh my God.”

As he watched from his car, 73-year-old Luis Medrano calmly steered his sedan onto the pavement and instead of pounding his car into Bethea, he stepped out with all the grace of a YouTube hero.

Instead of punching his car into Bethea, “He laughed, and he just said, ‘C’mon Antoine, you gotta get to the hospital,’” Bethea told reporters. “And I looked back at him. He’s jumped out, no blood, just knocked me off the car seat and said, ‘Get me to the hospital.’”

Medrano, a Navy veteran who was on his way to the Navy’s Richmond Composting Facility on the city’s southwest side, said he only panicked after he saw traffic slowed by an accident in front of him. A police officer rushed to the scene but couldn’t put the brakes on the speeding car until Medrano got there and did it.

“For him to jump out and get me safely to the hospital was enough,” Bethea said.

When Medrano reached the hospital, a doctor who had rushed there from a nearby office told Medrano that he could make it there with the help of the doctors there and that the two should meet for dinner. As a joke, Medrano suggested a hospital dinner near the Golden Gate Bridge. He had ridden through the bridge. No way, the doctor said.

They laughed, kissed, and then took a stroll to the bridge, where they ate at a Vietnamese restaurant and discussed Bethea’s football career and played a round of ping pong together.

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