‘I didn’t grasp the realness of the situation’: Students, airman relive rescue of mother, children pinned under car

Dec 6, 2023, 6:06 PM | Updated: Dec 12, 2023, 9:56 am

LAYTON — The group of around 20 students and an airman from the nearby Hill Air Force Base are sharing their account of rescuing a mother and her two young children who were pinned underneath a car.

Officials said a driver temporarily blinded by sunlight accidentally ran them over at approximately 3:45 p.m. Tuesday in the Layton Christian Academy parking lot.

Students from all over campus rushed over when they heard cries for help.

“I hear all these commotions, people telling me, ‘Come help, come help!’ so I drop my stuff and ran over,” said sophomore Theo Roach.

“I ran inside, I told everybody, ‘Call the police,’ added eighth grader Utulei Simaumea. “I looked under the car, and the baby was lying there. And the mom was like, ‘Help! Help! Help!'”

School officials said the woman trapped under the car works in the school’s admissions office.

“I was in shock, and then I immediately told myself, ‘Think about mom.’ I said, ‘What would a person do for your mom?'” Simaumea said.

Many of the students said they didn’t recognize her during the moment, and many of them didn’t know each other.

“We all just got together and started lifting up that car,” Roach said.

Dominique Childress, a senior airman from HAFB, was at the school picking up his own children when the accident happened.

“As soon as I hit the door frame, my son’s kindergarten teacher, Miss Williams, says, ‘Hey, we need your help,'” Childress said.

Senior airman for Hill Air Force Base, Dominique Childress. (KSL TV)

He said his military training kicked in. Childress said the woman’s older child was able to crawl out by themselves, but the mom and her baby 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 said.

Childress and a student worked on pulling the baby to safety.

“Baby was unconscious, baby’s face was purple,” Childress said. “His body was in certain ways you don’t expect.”

He found a pulse and put a finger to the child’s nose to see if he was 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 said.

The students said adrenaline carried them.

“I feel like we probably look like not the type of people to be able to lift the car, but we did it,” Roach said.

Students at Layton Christian Academy speaking to KSL TV’s Shelby Lofton about the rescue. (KSL TV)

LCA is an international school, and officials said there is sometimes a language barrier. The students said, not in this case. People were stationed around the car, yelling ‘lift’ in different languages.

“I think that just shows our togetherness as a school and just how we’re all from different areas. We could just know what to do,” Roach said. “I think that’s part of God.”

Childress said he was the one in uniform, but they deserve the credit for saving the mom and children.

“They are the purest form of the word hero and 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, he said.

School officials said the two children who were underneath the car are both out of the hospital and did not have any broken bones or serious injuries. They said the mother is in and out of surgery, but thanks to these brave students, they are all expected to survive.

A GoFundMe* has been set up to help the family with medical expenses.

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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‘I didn’t grasp the realness of the situation’: Students, airman relive rescue of mother, children pinned under car