Clarksville, TN (WSMV) — She survived a crash that took the life of her husband. Then the widow began looking for the stranger who stayed by her side, a man she credits for saving her life.
“It was dark, and he kept talking to me and kept telling me it’s going to be okay,” said Francesca Caterisano of Clarksville.
On Craigslist under ‘personals, missed connections’ is a message Caterisano posted titled, ‘Looking For The Man Who Held My Hand at the Accident on the 27th Sept.’
“He kept me alive,” she said. “He kept me awake. He kept me going.”
Both of them deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, Steven Gibson first heard his future wife, Caterisano, as she worked air traffic control and did everything he could to meet the girl behind the voice.
“The moment we met, the moment we connected, that was it,” said Caterisano. “It was like a fairy tale.”
One year later, Gibson proposed at Rockefeller Center on Christmas Eve.
“He was the greatest man ever,” said Caterisano. “I hope every woman gets to have a man like him.”
Last month, Clarksville police said Gibson and Caterisano were riding their motorcycle through an intersection on Madison Street when they were hit by a car driven by Jonathon Olson, who police said was under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
“I heard the kid who hit us just going out of control, ‘Oh my God! He’s dead,’ ” said Caterisano. “That’s how I found out. There was someone who held my hand, continuing to keep me aware of my surroundings so I could live.”
Recovering at Signature HealthCare of Clarksville after treatment at Vanderbilt, Caterisano said someone has responded to her Craigslist post, and she’ll meet that person soon to find out if that’s the man who held her hand. Holding a picture of her first Valentines with Gibson close, Caterisano said she needs the chance to say ‘thank you’ to the person who made sure she wasn’t alone on the night she lost the one she loved most.
“How incredibly thankful I am he helped me,” said Caterisano. “He kept me alive.”
Caterisano said she has major complications with her left leg and her spine was separated from her pelvis. She said after months of treatment, she will be able to walk again.
An update a few days ago stated: “Found, the man who held my hand at the accident on Sept. 27.”
“I had no idea my post would go viral…let alone lead me to being on the 5pm news two days later. absolutely amazing.
well…the man who held my hand responded to my ad. i would like to say thank you to all the strangers who wanted to help and sent their support to me. everyone i know, every stranger, everyone who has supported me during this time….its changing me for the better, and how i feel about people. iv always believed in the good in people; but the enforcement in this situation is outstanding. thank you to every one.”