With the help of good Samaritans, a Tampa Police officer helped rescue an elderly woman and a young child trapped beneath a vehicle.
Shortly after 1:30 PM on Sunday, December 18, 2022, Tampa Police officers were called to a pedestrian-involved car accident in the parking lot of the Arbor Ponds Apartment Complex located at 2901 N Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa.
Corporal Lance Baker arrived to find an 80-year-old woman and a 3-year-old girl pinned beneath a 2006 Toyota Corolla. According to the 23-year-old driver of the vehicle, the victims were struck as he was backing out of a parking spot at the complex. The driver did not see the woman pushing her great-granddaughter in a stroller as they returned from the grocery store and backed his vehicle over both victims. The driver said he felt a bump, but assumed it was a large storm drain located behind his car and attempted to pull forward. When the vehicle did not move, he became aware that he had struck someone. The victims were trapped beneath the car.
With the help of neighbors, who used a hydraulic jack to raise the car slightly from the ground before first responders arrived, Cpl. Baker was able to free the great-grandmother and child. He pulled grocery items out from between the woman and the car, allowing her to breathe, and worked with firefighters to cut the child out of her stroller, and ultimately, pull both victims to safety.
Both victims received immediate medical attention on scene and were transported to a local hospital as a trauma alert. The great-grandmother is currently in critical condition, while the 3-year-old child is in stable condition. Impairment is not believed to be a factor in the crash, and the driver remained at the scene and cooperated with the investigation. The case is still being evaluated for any potential charges or citations.
Body-worn camera footage of the rescue can be viewed on the Tampa PD YouTube page.
"We are proud of Cpl. Baker's quick actions and calmness under pressure while helping this family. This is a shining example of the work Tampa Police officers do every day to protect and serve their community, not knowing if they'll be called upon to save a life or put their own life on the line at any given call for service," said Interim Chief of Police Lee Bercaw. "We are thankful for the good Samaritans and Tampa firefighters who also jumped into action to help make sure this grandmother and young child will get a chance to see another Christmas this week with their family."