Car accidents shock drivers to their core by their mere suddenness, but when Karah Thompson’s 9-month-old son, Beckett, failed to cry after the impact, she began to panic.
“It was devastating because he wasn’t crying. He wasn’t doing anything,” she said. “I was shaking so bad while trying to get him unbuckled.”
Thompson was hit at the intersection of Blue Ridge Avenue and Sperryville Pike while en route to pick up her daughter Bryleigh, 4, at church on Sept. 20. The crash broke the axle and wheel off on her van, making it impossible to put the car in park and open the backdoors to get Beckett out.
“My heart was in my feet because it hit on his side and him not crying, it is something I don't ever want to experience not being able to get to my kid,” she said.
Thompson remembered two or three boys with long hair there to grab Beckett and take care of him on the sidewalk as she assessed the damage and talked to police.
“They had no idea what was really going on,” Thompson said. “They just took the baby and kept him safe on the sidewalk.”
“I just couldn't be more thankful that they were there (to) grab him.”
Rese Frederick, 17, Matty Mitchell, 17, and Sam Pories, 18, were skateboarding nearby at Yowell Skate Park when they heard the collision and ran over to help.
“We heard the smash and then I heard the car like screeching,” Frederick said. “I just ran out there to see what happened.”
“We all just decided to go there and help and see what we could do,” he continued. “I knew it would be worth helping.”
Mitchell, Frederick said, tried to open the door.
“They manhandled the door like the car was on fire to get my kid out, and I could not be more thankful,” Thompson said.
Once the door opened a few inches - enough for Beckett to slide through - another man inside the car unbuckled him and handed him to Frederick.
Pories, who is nearing completion of his Eagle Scout test, took a short video of Frederick holding Beckett after the crash.
“As you go through those ranks (in Boy Scouts), you’re taught how to deal with all situations, so I was trained on what to do in a way,” Pories said.
Following the accident, Thompson posted on social media about the boys’ generosity.
“If your son was at Yowell skate park this evening and came up after the accident that happened,” she wrote, “please let them know they have helped restore some faith in their generation.”
Frederick’s father, Billy, became aware of the post and began messaging Thompson on social media, resulting in plans to get the group together.
“(I wanted) to at least see them again because it was like a blur,” Thompson said.
Rese and Billy Frederick as well as Pories met with Thompson and her two children at El Jaripeo in Culpeper on Sept. 26 to reflect on the crash.
Mitchell was unable to attend.
“I was proud obviously,” Billy Frederick said. “We raised our kids to help out when they should.”
“Sometimes I hate being from a small town and then other times it’s heartwarming to know that people are always there to help even if you don’t think that they are,” Thompson said.