• Zelienople man who survived crash into creek: 'I want to be the best father, husband'


    ZELIENOPLE, Pa. - Leo Stefanacci is now called the "miracle man," by doctors. Despite the odds, Stefanacci survived a terrible crash into a Zelienople creek a little more than two weeks ago.

    At first, his prognosis was grim. But now, just 17 days later Stefanacci is at home and working toward a full recovery.

    "I remember the car going in and me saying, 'Oh crap.' But that's not the words I used," Stefanacci said.

    Investigators said the accident happened on Sunday March 3, around 9:30 p.m. as Stefanacci traveled on Halstead Boulevard. He was on his way home, just a few miles away.

    Dispatchers said Stefanacci's car was going around a bend when he lost control and the car ended up on its roof in the Connoquenessing Creek.

    Investigators said no one saw the accident, but four teens passed by, saw tire tracks in the snow and called 911.

    “We passed it, then stopped and backed up. When we looked down, there was a car submerged with no lights coming from it. No one would have noticed it,” Zack Madarrafi said.

    Madaffari said he and three friends were on their way to get food when they noticed tire tracks in the snow.

    The group didn’t know at the time that a teacher at their former school, Seneca Valley Middle School, was trapped in the car. But as soon as they realized that someone was in the car, they knew they had to help.

    “I don’t think we are heroes. I think we were in the right place at the right time. To know it was my teacher makes me feel really good,” Aimee Scholl said.

    Stefanacci disagrees and said if it weren't for the teens and the first responders, he would likely be dead.

    "I am alive and I want to be the best father and the best husband," he said. "Heroes. They're all heroes. They gave me a second chance at life."

     Stefanacci said he went into cardiac arrest four times and is alive only by the grace of God and his will to live for his family.

    He said he's now at home and although he's not back to 100 percent, with therapy he is expected to make a full recovery.

    "I'm one in a million," Stefanacci said.

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