Strangers, law enforcement save man pinned under riding tractor in Va. Beach

Posted at 12:04 AM, Jun 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-06 00:06:09-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - A man was trapped beneath a riding tractor and was unable to breathe for minutes. If it wasn't for quick thinking and a lot of helping hands, police say that man would have died.

"All I could think was please God do not let this kid sit here and watch his dad die,” says Will Solomon, who rushed over with his dad about a block away.

Tuesday afternoon a father and son were clearing a field in a Kempsville neighborhood when police say the man was knocked off his tractor by a tree branch.

When he tried to get back onto the moving tractor, Master Police Officer Joseph O’Neil says the man "got caught underneath and just got ran right over. The crushing would have started on his legs and worked up his body."

His feet were just inches from the tractor's mowing blade, before it shut off. His teenage son ran for help.

"From the sound of that kid's voice, he needed help badly," Solomon says.

"I had my window down,” says Mike Abenante, who was almost home when he saw the teen.” He says 'help me, help me my dad is under the tractor.'"

A neighbor and two others in the area were the first to run over. The man was being crushed.

"He had the blood coming out of his nose and his mouth and some coming out of his ear," Solomon says.

The man couldn't breathe.

"He was being asphyxiated you know, kind of like what an anaconda does to a prey,” says Fire District Chief Dave Hutcheson. “He was being squeezed to death."

Hutcheson, O'Neil, another police officer, and the three strangers took action to free the man.

"My dad had grabbed a 4x4 and the concrete brick that's over there and we were trying to wedge it up," Solomon says.

"I felt the thing go up and it was heavy, but we held it up and then somebody started pulling the body out and I just kept screaming 'get him out, get him out,'"  Abenante says.

The man was pulled out from underneathe the tractor's heavy back wheel. He was still unconscious, but alive.

"I might have saved a cat in my lifetime, but nothing ever like this," Abenante says.

Police say the man is still in the hospital, in critical condition.