Police Chief Charles Chapman:
Yesterday evening’s automobile accident was horrifying, and the heroic work of police, firefighters & bystanders who jeopardize their lives represent the highest standards of emergency services personnel. The bystanders represent how much of a family we are in this community. Their efforts can never be appreciated in descriptions I provide or a video for you to view the details of their heroics.
So, Mrs. Evelyn Chapman who’s life was saved, our local school teacher of thirty-five years, and my wife of forty-one years. (Coughing and tearing up)
She will explain the details and particulars about the circumstances of the accident and the heroic actions by those involved in saving her life.
Mrs. E. Chapman:
At 9:30 pm I was returning home from the middle school’s annual winter play when I lost control of my car during the rainstorm on Oliver highway. I collided with the guardrail with such force the guardrail collapsed allowing the car to go over the steep embankment.
I did not know it, but, my cars rear axle snagged the guard rail as I looked out of my cracked windshield into the canyon below.
I was seat belted, pressed against the steering wheel when I passed out from fear of my imminent death to never again enjoy time with my family, friends and especially my four grandchildren.
I was awakened when the driver’s window crack and eventually broken by Officer Schmeichel. I turned to see his face, and it reminded me of my youngest son when he was twelve years old. I later discovered he was the lightest in weight to be lowered down by a rescue harness to my car.
I immediately thought of his family with his newborn son, and told him to leave and not jeopardize his life, just say good-bye to my family and grandchildren as the car began to rock and lurch forward.
In the rearview mirror, I could see firefighters and police officers struggling to hold Officer Schmeichel. I again begged him to leave me be and not jeopardize their lives to save me as the car lurched forward again.
I continued pleading with him not to worry about me when he calmly said “mother.” We will not give up to save your life because you are going to serve Thanksgiving dinner next week. When he called me mother, I calmed down.
He opened the driver’s door, cut my seatbelt, tied straps around my waist, and under my arms. They hoisted me 75 to 100 yards to safety as I clawed at the trees and brush on my hands and knees to safety. As I approached the top, I could see members of my school and church, pulling me to safety and others holding ropes tied to my car preventing me from falling into the canyon.
Within seconds of Officer Schmeichel, climb to safety, my car tumbled over and over towards the canyon bottom breaking into many pieces upon impact.
I began to cry as I profusely thanked everyone who jeopardized their lives to save my life, and I passed out again.
When I woke at the hospital, I was surrounded by my family and friends. I told Charles, this Thanksgiving I want to provide dinner for everyone who jeopardized their life to save mine.
So next week with my four grandchildren helping in the kitchen. I will cook and serve the most appreciative Thanksgiving dinner for those men and women and their families who jeopardized their lives to save mine.
I want to publicly thank the men and women who came to my rescue. Thank you all so much for saving my life. 🙂