Michael Robert Keyser saved Edmund W. Byrne from being electrocuted, Apple Valley, California, February 25, 1990. At night, Bryne, 37, was the sole occupant of an automobile that left the highway and struck a utility pole, causing the pole to break off and then hang from the lines it had supported. Flames erupted in the front end of the car. Keyser, 19, construction worker, arrived at the scene; although two other passersby were shocked while in proximity to the car, he reached through the opened driver’s door, pulled Byrne out, and took him to safety. Bryne required hospitalization for his injuries, and Keyser was given oxygen for smoke inhalation, from which he recovered.
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Michael Robert Keyser, 49, of Hesperia, Calif., died on Jan. 19, 2020, after he stopped to help a truck driver whose tractor-trailer overturned on Interstate 15. Keyser was killed in a fiery collision after a second tractor-trailer crashed into the first truck.
Nearly 30 years earlier, he was awarded the Carnegie Medal for saving a man from being electrocuted on Feb. 25, 1990 in Apple Valley, Calif. Keyser, then a 19-year-old construction worker, arrived at the scene of an accident in which a vehicle had left the highway and struck a utility pole, causing the pole to break off and then hang from the lines it had supported. Keyser reached through the opened driver’s door to pull the man out and take him to safety.
Keyser was born in 1971, in Arcadia, Calif. He is survived by his high school sweetheart and wife of 30 years, Lorri Keyser; daughter, Kayla Keyser; son, Brett Keyser; grandchildren, Gia, Alana, and Blaine Keyser; mother, Susan Keyser; brother, Mark Keyser; and sister-in-law, Karee Keyser.
In addition to working at Elementis Specialties mining facility in Newberry Springs, Calif., Keyser was also known as a professional scare actor. He created a character, “Stitch Face,” who dons a burlap sack mask, long trench coat and 3-foot-tall wizard hat. Recently, film producer Hunter Crowder, interviewed Keyser for a documentary about his life, the “Stitch Face” character — who Keyser described as intimidating, but a “good guy,” — and his 1990 act of heroism. “He died doing what he loved — helping people,” said wife, Lorri.
(Published in the spring 2020 issue of Impulse.)