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Officers who saved child ejected in accident describe rescue

ST. LOUIS – Fox 2 News / KPLR 11 spoke with two heroic St. Louis police officers who saved the life of a three-year-old boy who was ejected from an SUV after a crash and landed partially in a storm sewer.

The series of things that led to the boy still being alive was flat out amazing. It started with the officers being just a block from the scene when they heard the loudest crash they’d ever heard around 8:45 a.m. Wednesday.

“We heard a really loud noise – crash,” said Officer Larry Dampier.

“We both at the same time turn and look south. As I look south, this tire is just going crazy (bouncing down the street & sidewalk),” said Officer Greg Frost, Dampier’s partner.

A blue car then came into view, they said, pushing a third car about 40 feet. They rushed to the scene before there was even a 911 call.

“The driver looked like she was kind of trapped. So we were trying to get her out of the car,” Dampier said.

“I opened the passenger door of the SUV just trying to get her out. Once we finally coaxed her to bring her legs over to me is when Larry said that there was a child,” Frost said.

“While I was tugging on her door, I looked down,” Dampier said. “Initially it looked like a pile of clothes in between the sewer and the curb. It took me a minute for my mind to gather that it was actually a child, halfway between the sewer and the street.”

“The child’s head was actually inside the sewer. The feet were kind of hanging out... I started trying to feel for a pulse. I could not feel a pulse. I started to give the child chest compressions. When I did give the child chest compression, he did react. He did have some type of movement.”

Another officer with EMS experience arrived and cradled the three-year-old. They rushed him to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in Officer Dampier’s police car.
The driver of the blue car ran a red light and struck the SUV and another parked car, police said.

The boy must have been ejected through one of the SUV’s doors, shattering the glass, then sliding into the sewer. He suffered severe head trauma and facial lacerations, police said.

The scene still weighs on the officers.

“Even last night was a little difficult. We did go up and talk to the mom (Thursday). She was very thankful. They did express that he was coming along a lot better than they even thought at the hospital,” Dampier said.

The boy was still listed in critical condition. His mom and the other driver are said to be okay. Police have cited them both: the mother for driving without a license, no insurance, and no car-seat; the other driver for running a red light.

These officers want to stress that if you need help with car seats, go to your police or fire department; they'll make sure you're good to go.