Family Zimmerman helped free from overturned SUV cancels press conference

Dylan Stableford
FILE - In this file image from video, George Zimmerman smiles after a not guilty verdict was handed down in his trial at the Seminole County Courthouse, Sunday, July 14, 2013, in Sanford, Fla. Officials say Zimmerman helped rescue four people from an overturned vehicle last week, just days after he was cleared of all charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Seminole County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Kim Cannaday said in a statement Monday, July 22, 2013 that deputies responding to the wreck found Zimmerman and another man had already helped the couple and their two children out of the flipped SUV.(AP Photo/TV Pool, File)

The family that police say George Zimmerman helped free from an overturned SUV last week abruptly canceled a press conference because "they don't want to be associated with George," Zimmerman attorney Mark O'Mara said on Wednesday.

Mark and Dana Michelle Gerstle of Port Orange, Fla., had planned to hold a press conference at O'Mara's office Wednesday afternoon, but the event was canceled several hours before it was set to begin.

"They were worried about blowback from saying anything that would be favorable to George, and decided they did not want to do any media," O'Mara said, according to ABC News.

According to the Seminole County Sheriff's Office, Zimmerman helped pull the pair and their two children from their overturned Ford Explorer on July 17, four days after his acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Police were called to the scene, but by the time deputies arrived, Zimmerman and another man "had already helped assist the family by getting them out of the overturned vehicle," a police spokeswoman told the Orlando Sentinel.

"Zimmerman was not a witness to the crash and left after making contact with the deputy," the spokeswoman said. "There were no reports of injuries to the vehicle occupants."

Friends say the Gerstle family has been hounded by reporters since Monday, when police released the accident report.

“They are very grateful to Zimmerman for what he did, but they do not want to get involved,” a family friend told the Daily Mail. “There is so much hatred directed towards him they have got to think about their own family. There are a lot of crazies out there. If they say anything in support of him, it could backfire.”

Earlier this week, O'Mara said Zimmerman did not mention his involvement in helping the accident victims during a client meeting after the crash, but that he was not surprised. "This is the George we know," he said.

"It's just in his nature," O'Mara told WOFL-TV. "I just wish people would look at this and understand this is who he is."