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Officer in Aurora auto-pedestrian crash: 'It was time to step up'

10:21 PM, Dec 4, 2012   |    comments
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The moment Sgt. Matt Brukbacher saw that there was no way to get the mother and her daughter out from underneath the car was the moment he knew he was going to need a little help.

"I just kind of hollered to some folks around and said, 'Hey, let's get this car up at the count of three,'" the Aurora Police Department officer recalled on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the auto-pedestrian crash at Exposition and Abilene in Aurora.

Three seconds later, part of the Kia Rio was up in the air. That's when Aurora Sgt. Jon Kessler found himself scurrying underneath to help rescue little Angela Kalala, 2, and her mother Kapinga Muanza Kalala, 37.

"There were people helping out everywhere. It was amazing," Sgt. Kessler told a group of reporters on Tuesday. "Everybody was just really helpful."

Kalala was trying to cross a relatively busy road when she and her three children were hit on Monday evening. Police say the driver of the Kia was not at fault. Kalala's twin boys were not significantly injured, but both she and her daughter remain hospitalized as of Tuesday afternoon.

Among the bystanders who assisted officers that evening was Richard Chan.

"The mom was unconscious. She was leaning over. The girl was trying to get out but her leg was trapped under her mom's chest. Her mom was pinned to the ground," Chan said.

Chan and several others lifted the vehicle, along side police, and helped pull the mother and toddler to safety.

"No one really gave it a second thought. Everyone just jumped in and lifted the car. I think if that car would've stayed on her a little bit longer she would have died," Chan said.

"It was horrific. The woman was underneath the car with her baby," said Jeffrey Simpson who helped in the rescue with his stepdaughter Nashelle Gibson. "The car was actually light because of all of the adrenaline."

"At that moment I had two people who were possibly going to die," Sgt. Brukbacher recalled. "I wasn't going to let that happen with me just standing there waiting for someone else to do what I could do. It was time to step up, and we got the job done. It was going to happen. Whether we had 50 people or five, it was going to get done."

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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