When faced with a deadly situation, you always wonder how you would react. There are people in the Quad City area whom, with only seconds to spare, managed to make it out alive. We begin our special series of reports with the story of a Bettendorf man involved in an accident while working on the car.
9-1-1 call: “There's blood everywhere, please hurry. Brookside Drive ma'am? Yes ma'am. There's blood everywhere!”
This family spends more time together these days, holding hands and appreciating life after an unbelievable accident with an even more amazing outcome.
It was the Saturday before Easter when David Russo decided to repair the tie rod on the family van. He jacked it up, just enough to get the tire off when, without thinking, he checked underneath.
“It was a quick procedure; was almost done with it, and it dropped,” said Russo.
Somehow, the jack slipped and like a vice, the frame of the van came down, trapping David.
“Instant pressure. A lot of pressure to my head,” he added.
He tried to relieve the pressure by pushing up on the vehicle, using his arms and even his legs, but he was no match for the 3,500 pounds of steel. So he started yelling for help.
But David's calls for help went unnoticed by everyone inside the house, except for the family dog, Diego. That's when David's daughter, Natalya took notice.
“Diego kind of barked. But then I told him to stop, but he wouldn't, so I looked, I well, I said mom, come here,” said Natalya.
When Allison Russo went outside she said, “I lost it and I panicked and all I knew what to do was just scream.”
That's when Natalya, a first-grader, made a life-saving decision. She grabbed her mom's phone, dialed 9-1-1 and then handed the phone over to her mother.
9-1-1 call: “Allison: “(screaming) I need an ambulance now. David? David talk to me.”
“My 7 year old was a lot better than me,” Allison said. “She took control and gave me that one second to calm down.”
911 call: Allison: “He was working on the car and the jack and the car fell on him. I need help really bad.”
Help arrived, including a neighbor who jacked the van back up. But the amazing story doesn't end there. David's injuries were serious. His skull was fractured in multiple places. The emergency room doctors told Allison Russo that the injuries could be fatal.
“I desperately tried to see my reflection as they wheeled me to the hospital to see what my face looked like, whether my eye was there and I could see the look on everyone's faces,” David said.
Days later, David woke up in the hospital. Unable to talk because of a breathing tube, he scribbled a few words to his family.
Allison said he, “Wasn't concerned with himself. First thing he wrote–'I love you how are the kids?'”
David was back home with his family after just five days in the hospital. Allison calls David her super hero. She even bought him a Superman T-shirt after the accident. But don't expect this “man of steel” to be crawling under a van of steel anytime soon.
Allison says, “He can pump gas, and change windshield wiper blades, but that's about it. He can wash it a whole bunch. Ha ha”.
David is still recovering from his injuries. He has eye damage and hearing problems. He will also need some facial reconstruction surgery, but through it all, family members call it a miracle that he's alive.
The Russos would also like to thank everyone who helped:their neighbors, the medics and police. They especially want to thank their 7-year-old daughter, who had the presence of mind to call for help.