Utah Man Reunited With Officer Who Saved His Life 35 Years Ago
RIVERDALE, Utah – A fatal car crash in June 1985 sent several lives in different directions.
It’s something those involved will never forget.
Three people who shared the tragedy recently reunited to remember, to learn what happened, and to see how the others are doing today.
Quintin Hess III hasn’t exactly been waiting for this reunion for 35 years, but he’s thought about it most of his life. Now 37, he is the same age his father was when he died in the two-car crash.
On June 11, 1985, Quintin Hess Jr. turned onto Riverdale Road east of I-84 with his two young boys on board – 4-year-old Nathan and 21-month-old Quinn.
A speeding car slammed into the driver’s side of the family sedan.
Former Riverdale Police Sgt. Glen Peterson and his partner were four blocks away when they got the call.
“We estimate, when he hit the Hess vehicle, he was doing between 60 – 80 miles per hour and T-boned him in,” he said. “It was probably one of the worst traffic accidents that I have ever seen. The destruction was what was really amazing.”
When Peterson and his partner arrived, they discovered Quinn tucked under the dashboard. The toddler wasn’t breathing.
“So I immediately said a prayer and was hoping that the CPR I was doing was going to work,” Peterson said.
Soon, Quinn was breathing. However, they were unable to save his father and brother.
The Hess Family had been on a two-car errand. Their youngest daughter was riding with their mother.
“I got home and nobody else showed up, and he was right behind me,” said Quinn’s mother, Kim.
She asked her daughter where she thought her dad was.
“She said, ‘I think I saw him get in a crash because there was lots of smoke when I looked out the back window,'” Kim said.
She drove back to the scene, where she discovered her family had been torn apart.
“There was an ambulance open, and there was a man laying there,” she said. “At the time, I didn’t realize that was my husband. He had died on the scene.”
“I was young,” she added. “I was 31 years old and I was a widow. And I had to bury my 4-year-old, my husband, and I had a baby in the ICU. … I was just grateful that we still had Quinn with us.”
Quinn recently decided it was time to meet the man who saved his life all those years ago. He tracked down Peterson on social media, and they met at his home in Weber County.
“He was the first on the scene, and he pulled me out of the car,” Hess said. “It’s been 35 years since we saw each other.”
The officer said he’s thought about that little boy over the years, and he wondered what happened to him, his mother, and the rest of the family.
At the meeting, Peterson got a better look at the family, while Hess got to examine the original crash photos.
Kim said it was “joyful” to see Peterson again and to thank him for his service that day.
“He pulled that little baby out of the car and started his heart again,” she said. “It means the world to me. I love my son more than I can say. He wouldn’t be here without Glen.”
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