The NorthSider

Homeless man honored for trying to help accident victim

CITY HALL – In recent weeks, the Board of Aldermen has passed resolutions honoring such milestones, groups and events as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, the Soulard Mardi Gras and the deaths of notable citizens.

But last week, the board honored a homeless man who was struck by a car after he ran into traffic and tried to minister to a woman who had also been hit by a car.

The woman died, and the man, Quinton D. Carter Jr., was hospitalized with a broken collar bone and a broken leg. But local media lauded him, and aldermen passed on Friday a resolution joining in with others who saluted him.

Twenty-Third Ward Alderman Joseph Vaccaro, the resolution’s sponsor, spoke of Carter’s heroism and also the need to help the homeless in general. 

“Here’s a guy with a college degree in business management. He can’t get a job, and it’s really getting to me, because I have friends and people that say, ‘Hey, there’s plenty of jobs, go get one,’” Vaccaro told members of the Board of Aldermen. “We can’t just keep ignoring the homeless people. We can’t just say, ‘They can go get a job.’”

Because of reversals in his life, Carter has been homeless for about a year. He’s been working on programs and activities to get back to work, the resolution said.

On Feb. 1, he saw a vehicle strike a homeless woman at Cass Avenue and 13th Street and then speed away. It was when he ran into traffic in an attempt to help her that himself was struck.

“Here’s a guy that goes out, tries to get somebody, so in my heart, he’s a hero,” Vaccaro said.

Vaccaro is the sponsor of a resolution calling on the city to work with the New Life Evangelistic Center to remedy code violations so it can reopen its building at 1411 Locust St. as a day shelter. The resolution has been referred to the aldermanic Public Safety Committee, which Vaccaro chairs.

Carter, 33, declined an offer to address aldermen during the ceremony. But Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed spoke up for him.

“I just also want to thank Quinton for the selflessness to go out in the middle of the street and to get hit and to try to save someone else’s life,” Reed said. “You never know who has it in them to step out and put themselves in danger to help someone else. You have shown by these selfless acts that you have that within you. We all are going to be made better because of it.”

The New Life Evangelistic Center has provided Carter with bus tickets to travel to see his family in Louisiana soon.   

Speaking to the board, New Life Evangelistic Center Director Larry Rice said he was shocked when first responders said that after Carter had been at the hospital, he was released to the streets. 

Carter was scheduled for surgery this week. 

“My prayer is that we can find him a hotel room because after he comes back from surgery, I don’t want to see him back out there, and also that we can get 1411 Locust open again soon during the day, so he wouldn’t have to be out there,” Rice said. 

Jim Merkel Born and raised in the St. Louis area, Jim Merkel covered communities throughout the area from 1991 to 2013 for the old Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis. He is the author of five books about the Gateway City published by Reedy Press. The latest is Growing Up St. Louis: Looking Back Through the Decades. He and his wife, Lorraine, live in the Bevo Mill neighborhood of south St. Louis with Miss Jenny the Cat. For more about Jim, visit

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