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Indiana guardsman saves life of woman having asthma attack on I-69

An Indiana National Guardsman on his way to see his fiancée in Kentucky when he stopped to help save a stranger's life.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WTHR) - Five days ago, 20-year-old Philipp Espique and 43-year-old Joy Speer were just strangers on the side of the road.

"There's no doubt in my mind that he was placed there on purpose," Joy said of Philipp.

Now, after the life and death experience the pair shared on Interstate 69 near Bloomington, they're more like family now.

"My whole family I think now considers him our family," said Joy, hugging Philipp.

That's because Joy's family could have easily lost her after the registered nurse had a severe asthma attack last Friday morning while driving to work on I-69 North.

"You're gasping for air and the more you gasp, the more you panic," Joy explained of the asthma attack, that started with tightness in her chest and quickly progressed to uncontrollable coughing and difficulty breathing.

Her inhaler wasn't helping, so Joy tried to call 911 for help.

"They asked me a lot of questions and I couldn't answer because I couldn't talk," said Joy, who hung up with the operated and texted a friend. "She's the one who told me to pull over."

So that's what she did and tried to flag down help. Joy was so weak, she couldn't stand.

"I was just waving, trying to get someone to stop and there was at least four cars that went by," Joy remembered. "It was terror, waiting for someone, hoping someone would stop."

That someone turned out to be Phillipp, a Ben Davis graduate, now a UPS supervisor and Indiana National Guardsman who was on his way to see his fiancée in Kentucky when he spotted Joy on the side of the road.

"I'm thinking, 'Oh, no! She's flat on the ground. She needs help'," Philipp remembered.

When he got to Joy after turning around in a median, she wasn’t doing well.

"She's like gapsing, purple in the face and I'm, like, she's having an allergic reaction," Philipp thought.

Phillip didn't see Joy's EpiPen right there, turns out he had one too that he always carries because his sister has severe allergic reactions.

"I ran back to my car and grabbed mine and as I'm running back, I'm waving for someone to stop and help," Philipp said.

The four people who did pull over, turned out to be an off-duty EMT, a nurse on her way home, a state trooper heading home, too, and another woman who just wanted to help.

"On the side of an interstate, you have people from all different walks of life come together to help someone," said Philipp. "What was demonstrated out there was the epitome of what it is to be a Hoosier."

For Joy, the chance meeting was more than just coincidence.

"It's a miracle. He was really in the right place at the right time," said Joy.

Because of it all, Philipp will have a few more guests at his wedding in August.

Why wouldn't he? Joy and Philipp are family now.

"Welcome to the family," said Joy, hugging him.