Strangers help father pull boy from accident near St Pete school - WFLA News Channel 8

Strangers help father pull boy from accident near St Pete school

Posted: Updated:
Richard Aikman, former firefighter and bystander, helped pull people from the water Richard Aikman, former firefighter and bystander, helped pull people from the water
ST PETERSBURG -

 St. Petersburg police cited the woman who caused a multi-car pile-up where cars ended up in a creek, with careless driving.
A group of strangers helped a father pull his 8-year-old son from a car in a St. Petersburg canal Tuesday as it sat upside-down and filled with

water according to police and eyewitness accounts.

"We didn't even know there was a kid trapped in there until a few minutes after the dad came out with the other kid," said Richard Aikman, a former firefighter who was one of the first to jump into the water. "You can either choose to stand and watch or choose to do something so I chose to do something."

It all started because of a chain-reaction car accident on 77th Avenue North, just down the street from Sawgrass Elementary School. Police think Tari Denehy, of St. Petersburg, lost control of her gold Chevy SUV, for some reason, rear-ended another vehicle, which caused a crash involving four other cars.

Her SUV also went into the canal with four children inside. All made it out okay and went to the hospital to get checked out.

But witnesses pulling up to the scene realized something was wrong in the silver Kia positioned upside-down behind the SUV.

The father had rushed to pull out his 9-year-old, but the boy's younger brother was still trapped inside.

"He was in there probably a minute, minute and a half - maybe two minutes not breathing," Aikman said. "He was buckled in. His seatbelt was locked. We couldn't get it undone."

The small group of people in the water were scrambling to figure out how to cut the boy out. It just so happens that Jason Schwartzwalder was standing right there on the bank. His boss lives across the street and Jason had come here this morning to do landscaping but didn't go to work because of the rain. Jason had a knife in his pocket.

"I just reached in my pocket and I flung it right to them probably 20 yards and he [caught it]," he said.

Witnesses believe it was the father who used the knife to cut the boy from the belt. That was just about the time Michelle Yocum ran up to the scene.

"People were just screaming...and they got him out. The boy was blue," she said.

She started to do CPR.

"I just breathed into his mouth and nothing happened. Then I tried to open his mouth but his teeth were clinched," she remembered.

When she went to lift his head, something happened.

"I opened his mouth and he started coughing and then he started crying," she said. "If they hadn't gotten him out - it just would've been a different story."

Paramedics took the 8 and 9 -ear-old boys along with their father to Bayfront Medical Center. Police believe all should be okay.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:49 AM EDT2014-09-01 10:49:59 GMT
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
  • Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:48:06 GMT
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
  • Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:03:34 GMT
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
  • NewsMore>>

  • Labor Day - more than just a day off

    Labor Day - more than just a day off

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:41 AM EDT2014-09-01 10:41:03 GMT
    While many people have the day off work, the day is actually meant to celebrate the achievements and contributions of American workers.
    While many people have the day off work, the day is actually meant to celebrate the achievements and contributions of American workers.
  • Two shot outside party in Tampa

    Two shot outside party in Tampa

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:59 AM EDT2014-09-01 07:59:20 GMT
    Two people have gunshot wounds after a shooting outside a party in Tampa early Sunday morning, Tampa police said. 
    Two people have gunshot wounds after a shooting outside a party in Tampa early Sunday morning, Tampa police said. 
  • Pilot dies in plane crash near downtown St. Pete

    Pilot dies in plane crash near downtown St. Pete

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:44 AM EDT2014-09-01 07:44:26 GMT
    Rescue boaters are on the scene of a downed banner plane near Albert Whitted Airport.Rescue boaters are on the scene of a downed banner plane near Albert Whitted Airport.
    The pilot of a banner plane that crashed into the water near Albert Whitted Airport has died, St. Petersburg police officials said. 
    The pilot of a banner plane that crashed into the water near Albert Whitted Airport has died, St. Petersburg police officials said. 

  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.