Almost two dozen students from Layton Christian Academy and an airman from the Hill Air Force Base became real life heroes Tuesday when they lifted a car in the parking lot of their school to save a mother and her two young children who got pinned underneath the vehicle after they got hit by another car.
“It’s a miracle. We have just seen God do so many things here and this is one of them. The car went over all three (of them),” Chris Crowder, associate pastor and CEO of the school, told KSLTV.
Local police told FOX13 that the accident occurred just before 4 p.m. on Tuesday. The mother, an employee of the school, identified as Bridgette Ponson, was walking with her 2-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter when they were hit by a car heading west in the parking lot.
Crowder, who told KSLTV that he was the one who called the students to assist the mother, said initially, he didn’t realize what had happened after the accident.
“I looked across the parking lot and noticed the car and they were screaming and so, I ran over there and I look under the car and I see mom and child underneath the car pinned,” he recalled. “It was split second. I immediately, just ran into the building because I knew I had to get a lot of people to lift this car. We have about 220 domestic kids and over 300 international kids at the school. They just heard me yell. All these kids from different countries just come running out and lift it [the car] up.”
Police say the car that hit the mother and her children had been moving slowly and suspect the driver, who is cooperating, might have been blinded by the sun.
Video from the school’s surveillance system shows students rushing to help the mother and her children as the miracle save unfolded.
“I walked out, there was a lot of commotion going on and people were just telling me to help and I just dropped myself and ran over,” student Theophious Roach told Fox 13.
“The car was heavy,” fellow student Junior Saripsat told the outlet. “We did our best, and the moment I heard the kids crying I was like, ‘Oh, thank God, the kids are good.”
Senior Airman Dominique Childress of Hill Air Force Base, who was picking up his children from the school when the incident happened, told KSLTV that his military training kicked in as soon as he heard his help was needed.
“As soon as I hit the door frame, my son’s kindergarten teacher, Miss Williams, says, ‘Hey, we need your help,’” Childress recalled.
He said the woman’s daughter had managed to crawl out from underneath the car as they tried saving the family, but the mother and her toddler son were still trapped.
“Mom was holding him, and once we were holding the car high enough, she was able (to) get up and kind of hold the car on her back as we were lifting,” he explained.
Along with one of the students, Childress managed to pull the younger child to safety. The child was unconscious but breathing.
“It was a relief because I didn’t understand fully. I didn’t grasp the realness of the situation until I saw the kid breathing,” Roach told KSLTV. “I feel like we probably look like not the type of people to be able to lift the car, but we did it.”
Ponson’s children did not suffer any broken bones and are both out of the hospital, but school officials say the mother has been in and out of surgery since the accident and a GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help cover her medical expenses.
Though he is the one serving in the military, Childress had high praise for the Layton Christian Academy students who ran to the rescue of the mother and her two children.
“They are the purest form of the word hero,” he told KSLTV. “They deserve every single bit of praise and worship that they’ve gotten because what they did was not easy for a teenager to do.”
Exclusive video of high school boys and girls at Layton Christian Academy coming to the rescue of a mom and child trapped underneath a car. See the story only on @KSL5TV at 10. pic.twitter.com/iFn0GU7ufb
— Dan Rascon (@TVDanRascon) December 6, 2023
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