Photo by Jerry Jackson
Marcus Fuller, Callaway Elementary School principal(center), was presented with a certificate of honor by Clayton County School Superintendent Edmond Heatley and Board Chairperson Pam Adamson, during Monday’s board of education meeting. Fuller was honored for saving the life of a hit-and-run victim.
Callaway Elementary School Principal Marcus Fuller considers himself to be just an ordinary man, but to many, he’s more than that –– he’s a hero.
While driving to work early one morning in October, on Ga. Hwy. 54, Fuller noticed several cars in front of him swerving back and forth, as if they were trying to avoid hitting something.
“I assumed it must be a tire, clothes, or some type of debris in the road,” said Fuller. As he got closer, he noticed a pair of shoes lying in the middle of the road. Not too far from those shoes, was a young man lying face down, barely hanging on to life.
“I couldn’t just go around it, assuming it was clothes in the road,” he said. “I had to make sure it was not a person. I stopped –– and sure enough –– it was.”
The young man was 17-year-old Maurice Freeman, a junior at Mundy’s Mill High School. Freeman had been struck by a car while crossing the road, and was left there severely injured, less than half a mile from the high school.
Without hesitation, Fuller used his car to block traffic, to keep other cars from running over Freeman. He said he then got out of his car to check to see if Freeman was still alive.
“When I got to [Freeman], he was unconscious,” said Fuller, who said he reached for his cellular phone to call 911, but his phone was not working. That’s when another motorist, passing by, stopped and called 911.
While kneeling down next to Freeman’s limp body, Fuller said, his worse fear was that Freeman was already dead, but, thankfully, when he touched him, Freeman started to squirm.
“He was disoriented, and tried to get up,” said Fuller. “I had to beg [him] not to move, because his legs were crossed, his torso was twisted, and he was bloody.”
According to Freeman’s mother, Erica Browning, the accident left the Jonesboro teenager with a busted skull and blood around his brain, a broken back, broken pelvis, broken tailbone, and a lacerated kidney.
“We are so grateful to the principal,” said Browning, in an earlier statement. “He saved [my son’s] life.”
Fuller said it was not the usual route he takes to get to work, and he believes it was divine intervention that put him there, on that early October morning.
“I’m glad God used me to help save this young man’s life,” he said.
Fuller, a native of Alabama, said he is not used to people being so preoccupied with their own lives that they just drive around a person lying in the road. “I don’t care if it’s a drunk or somebody on drugs –– it’s a human,” he said. “I did what any good Samaritan would do. I can’t assume that other people took the time to look and see that it was a person, and just chose to drive around,” he said. “I’m hoping that we aren’t living in a society and people just didn’t notice.
“I don’t know how clearly other people could see him,” he said, “but they saw it enough to drive around, which is disheartening to me.”
Fuller said when he arrived at work that day, he was still shaken up, seeing Freeman’s limp body flashing back and forth in his mind.
“My staff had never seen me emotional like that,” he said, “and when I walked in, they could tell something was wrong. “I told [my staff] just give me a moment, and I shut myself in my office for about an hour.”
As he sat in his office, Fuller said, he was overtaken by his emotions. “I teared up –– I won’t lie.”
Once he got himself together, he contacted Freeman’s family to make sure he was OK. Since the accident, Freeman has had minimal pain, and is busy recovering from his injuries, going to rehab twice a week. The teenager, who is being home-schooled until he fully recovers, said he is awaiting the day when he will be able to return to school.
To honor Fuller’s heroic gesture, the Callaway Elementary School principal was presented with a certificate of honor by Clayton County Public Schools Superintendent Edmond Heatley and members of the board of education, during Monday’s school board meeting.
A shy Fuller said he was overwhelmed by the standing ovation he got from school district officials, teachers, and community members, just for doing what any concerned human being “should” do.