MARGATE (CBSMiami) – CJ Martin may have made a poor choice – jumping on the hood of a car and riding on it for a few seconds then getting trapped under the vehicle.
But while he recovers at a hospital, a group of neighbors can take pride in their good choice – helping free Martin, 13, and getting him to safety.
Police say it appears Martin jumped on the hood of his aunt’s car as he walked home from school Monday. At some point he either fell off the car or jumped off, then got pinned underneath the car. CBS4’s Carey Codd was told that at least one of the tires went over his body.
Gray Smith just got home from work when a neighbor begged him to come outside and then he saw the boy trapped.
“There was a cop over there and he was yelling, ‘Can anyone help? Can anyone help?’ Smith recalled. “That was crazy. It was definitely nuts. I saw the blood trail from the back of the car.”
He joined in with several Margate Police officers and a few neighbors to lift the car off the boy.
“It’s not as hard as you think, when you have a group of people picking it up,” Smith said.
Denise Ritenour rushed to Martin’s aid. She said CJ plays with her sons and is a good boy. She knew this was a desperate situation.
“I cried when I saw it,” Ritenour said. “He was pinned under the car and kept screaming, please move the car but I was terrified because I didn’t know if we should move forward or back.”
She helped gather neighbors to lift the car and while they did the heavy lifting, she did the pulling.
“I warned him, I said, ‘Honey, this might hurt a lot but I gotta move you’ and then we pulled him free,” she said.
Paramedics rushed Martin to the hospital. Police say the boy was conscious and alert when he got out from under the car but we’re told he suffered road rash over parts of his body. These do-gooders say they did what anyone would do – help someone in need.
“I hope anyone would do that,” Smith said. “You see a little kid down on the ground. If I had kids and I wasn’t home, I’d want somebody to do that, too.”
Martin’s mother told CBS4 News that she is deeply grateful for those Good Samaritans who helped her son. She said his aunt only recently learned to drive. The driver did remain on the scene to speak with investigators and police said they’re still investigating the case.