Stafford youths come to family’s aid after car overturns in icy conditions

By Annie Gentile - ReminderNews
Stafford, Union - posted Thu., Apr. 4, 2013
Heavy snow created a slick situation for a Union woman driving with her three young children on March 19. Her SUV overturned and began filling with water. Thanks to the efforts of four youths from the Ives family, the mother and her three children were evacuated and taken to safety at the Ives' home before emergency responders arrived. Courtesy photos by Jacob Ives. - Contributed Photo

When a Union woman's car overturned on Handel Road in Stafford March 19, as she was traveling with her three young children ranging in age from 4 months to 7 years old, the result could have been much more serious, but for the help of four quick-acting Stafford youths.

According to Sgt. Frank Prochaska, a constable with the Stafford Resident State Troopers Office, “It had been snowing most of the day, and then it slowed to rain and slush. The roads were in decent shape, but then we got a very heavy snow and in a matter of minutes the roads went from being okay to extremely slick.”

Prochaska said the driver was driving down a hill on Handel Road in her SUV when she started to slide, hitting the guardrail and breaking through it. The SUV slowly rolled onto its roof on the passenger side. Prochaska said the Ives family, who live in a neighboring home, heard the crash, and, while their mother called 911, four Ives children - Jacob, age 16, Ethan, age 15, Grace, age 13, and David, age 10 - ran down to the SUV.

“My mom is a photographer and she was outside that day taking pictures of the snowstorm,” said Jacob Ives. Jacob said that while outside, their mother heard the crash and then saw the vehicle upside-down in the stream. “She called Ethan and me, and we threw on our boots and ran down to the stream,” Jacob said.

While his brother Jacob ran to the far side of the stream and waded in, Ethan Ives said he climbed up on top of the vehicle and got the door open. Inside the car, he saw the mother, an infant in a car seat, a toddler and another child, a little bit older.

“The car was about half full of water and everyone was soaking wet,” Ethan said.

Jacob said the mother’s first concern was to get the baby warm, and she handed the child up to him in the car seat. “At that point, my mom was running toward the scene and I handed the baby to her and she ran with the baby back to the house. It all happened so fast. It was crazy,” he said.

With the baby safely out of the SUV, Ethan said he and his sister Grace got the toddler out, with Grace walking him up to their house. Then Ethan and Jacob got the last child out, followed by the mother, and they all went up to the house, where the accident victims were given a change of clothes and an opportunity to warm up before the police, firefighters and other emergency personnel arrived.

“We got the call from the [Ives] house, not the driver, so I was pretty impressed with the kids coming down and helping them like they did,” said Prochaska, who noted that at that time, the police barracks received three calls for other motor vehicle accidents in quick succession. He said the woman in the car was unable to get out of the vehicle on her own and free her children, so the actions of the Ives children were very important. “There was water in the car, and while the woman and her children weren’t in any immediate danger of drowning, it was freezing outside, and you have to wonder how well a 4-month-old baby might do if the [Ives] family hadn’t been home,” said Prochaska.

Prochaska added that the Ives house is probably the only one in the area that could see the accident, and Handel Road isn’t that highly traveled a road at the time of the day during which the accident occurred, so had no one seen or heard what happened, the situation could have turned out much worse.

As a result of their heroic actions, Prochaska said he will be submitting the four Ives youths’ names for life-saving awards from the police department.

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