On a April 29, 1992, truck driver Reginald Denny, 33, was heading from the Santa Monica Freeway and heading to a plant in Inglewood. Loaded down with 27 tons of sand, Denny took a shortcut across Florence Avenue, straight into the path of danger.
Denny was unaware of the chaos that was unfolding just ahead. Denny’s truck was not equipped with a radio, so he had no way of knowing what he was driving into. At 6:46 pm, Denny pulled up to the intersection of Florence and Normandie. Rioters, angered over the Rodney King verdict, threw rocks at the cab’s windows.
A news helicopter captured the entire scene as it unfolded and went live across the country. Millions of viewers watched as the rioters pulled Denny from his truck. Antoine Miller opened the truck’s door, while others pulled Denny from the cab, on to the street. Denny was punched, kicked and beat about the head. Henry Wilson held Denny’s head down with his foot as another int he group kicked Denny in the abdomen. Denny was also bludgeoned with a claw hammer. Toward the end of his beating, Damien Williams threw a concrete slab at Denny’s head, knocking him unconscious.
As Denny was lying on the ground, other rioters walked by, throwing bottles, spitting at him and kicking him.
Watching the scene unfold on TV, four good samaritans rushed to the dangerous scene to aid Denny. Bobby Green, a fellow truck driver, Titus Murphy and his girlfriend, Terri Barnett, and Lei Yuille were the good samaritans.
When Yuille and Green got to Denny, he was had regained consiousness and dragged himself back into his truck and was attempting to drive. Green jumped in the truck with Denny and told him to scoot over.
About that time Murphy and Barnett reached the scene. In an interview with NBC News, Murphy said the windshield of Denny’s truck was so damaged, they couldn’t see out of it, so he stood on the side of the truck and helped guide Green, as he drove the three miles to the Daniel Freeman Hospital.
On the ride hospital, Green said Denny was in and out of consiousness and had what he believed to be a seizure.
As a result of the beatings, Denny sustained 91 skull fractures and a badly dislocated eye, along with several other injuries.
Denny has undergone numerous surgeries and years of therapy as a result of his injuries.
The six men who beat Denny were charged with various sentences, ranging from 3 to 10 years.
Denny is now a boat repairman in Lake Havasu, Arizona. He prefers not to speak with the media about the day’s events, but one resident of Lake Havasu told Time Magazine that Denny was doing okay.
“He’s doing better,” says one local who knows Denny. “It’s slow for him, but he’s getting better.”
The video below features an interview with truck driver Bobby Green.