Vigilant Good Samaritan helps locate missing elderly man - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Vigilant Good Samaritan helps locate missing elderly man

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ARLINGTON, Texas -

An elderly North Texas man with dementia had been missing for 16 hours, but his family's ordeal is over, thanks to a Silver Alert and a thoughtful Good Samaritan who found himself in the right place at the right time.

Police say Chuck Knudson saw 86-year-old Billy Kirby, Sr. driving on the tollway in Plano and called the authorities Friday afternoon. Kirby had been missing since Thursday night, and had even slept in his car on the side of the road.

He suffers from early stages of dementia, and only drives to a nearby park and grocery store.

"I wasn't going to let him out of my sight," said Knudson, who became a determined driver in a split second.

The retired Delta pilot had just heard a Silver Alert with Kirby's vehicle description and realized that he was behind the missing man. It struck him to follow and call 911.

"There's a pick-up in front of me and I started processing and I said, 'Wait a minute, I think this is the car,'" said Knudson.

As he drove up the Dallas North Tollway, passing his exit at Royal, the Dallas Police dispatcher thanked Knudson for calling in the tip.

He hung up, but felt uneasy.

"I did not want to let him get away," said Knudson.

So he called police again and stayed on the phone for another 20 miles, tracking Kirby from the tollway to 121, and finally, to a Home Depot in The Colony.

Kirby disappeared from his Arlington home around 9 p.m. Thursday, sleeping in his car on the side of the road.

He suffers from early stages of dementia, and only drives to a nearby park and grocery store.

Kirby's son spent all night and all morning looking for him until he got the call of relief around 1 p.m. Friday.

Knudson lives in Mansfield, and a car accident almost altered his route to North Dallas.

"I was in the left lane, gonna go up to Mockingbird and cut across, and something just made me drift back into the right and wait it out and there it was," he said.

Knudson's 88-year-old father sat in the front seat, watching the pursuit unfold.

He hopes the happy ending will inspire other drivers to pay attention to Silver Alerts, in the air or on the radio.

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