Mesa boy honored for saving mom's life after crash - East Valley Tribune: Health

Mesa boy honored for saving mom's life after crash

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Mike Sakal’s column runs on Fridays. Contact him at (480) 898-6533 or, or write to Mike Sakal, East Valley Tribune, 1620 W. Fountainhead Pkwy., Suite 219, Tempe, AZ 85282

Posted: Friday, June 29, 2012 7:37 am

After for saving his mother’s life last December following a horrific car crash, life has somewhat returned to normal for Bradley Mitchell.

Bradley, now, 11, and soon to be a fifth-grader at Mesa’s Harris Elementary School, more recently has been enjoying his summer by playing his Wii games, riding his bike and doing a lot of swimming.

It’s a less stressful, slower-paced routine than what ensued following the car crash on Dec. 21 in Strawberry in northern Arizona.

That day, as the Mitchells were on their way to the East Valley for the holidays, Bradley’s mother, Amanda Mitchell, lost control of her SUV. The car veered off the side of the road and catapulted 70 feet down an embankment, overturning about six times before it came to a rest on its roof.

Critically injured, Amanda was ejected from the vehicle with a broken neck, a fractured skull, internal bleeding and numerous other broken bones. She also stopped breathing, prompting Bradley to perform CPR on her after he crawled out of the wreckage, a procedure he learned from school and watching television. He also tended to his sister, Emily, 9, and brother, Joshua, 8, who were banged up too. Emily suffered a broken right index finger and Joshua had seatbelt markings on him.

“It was scary,” Bradley said. “I was freaking out. It was hard.”

But, most importantly, Bradley kept his cool and composure.

He ran up the side of the mountain and flagged down help. The two people who stopped happened to be his schoolteacher, Mrs. Pain from Pine-Strawberry Elementary School where he was a student at the time, and her husband, Patrick, a paramedic who was able to take over from there before emergency crews arrived.

All four of the Mitchells were wearing their seatbelts, but Amanda’s became unbuckled from the impact.

Following the crash, Bradley’s mom spent nearly four months in Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn hospital, where she was flown by helicopter moments after the accident. She was in a coma part of the time.

Now she is at home recovering.

“I saw my mom and gave her CPR,” he said. “Doctors said if it wasn’t for me giving her two breaths, she would’ve died.”

On June 14, about two months after Amanda’s release from the hospital, Bradley was honored by the Payson and Rural-Metro Fire departments, which presented him with a fire helmet and named him as an honorary member of the fire department. Payson Fire Chief Martin DeMasi drove from Payson to Mesa for Bradley’s commendation ceremony.

DeMasi said of Bradley, “He did a remarkable thing. That was pretty noteworthy for a 10-year-old man.”

“It was nice,” Bradley said of receiving the fire helmet and ice cream during the ceremony at the family’s home in east Mesa that was attended by about 30 people.

The helmet proudly rests on the television stand at their home, a reminder of Dec. 21 and how a boy’s quick actions saved his mother’s life.

However, Bradley’s grandmother, Patricia Young said he was pretty humble and really didn’t see himself as a hero.

“He was just concerned about protecting his mother,” she said.

As for Bradley’s mother, she said of her son’s actions that terrible day, “It means everything to me. He’s an awesome kid.”

And that he is.

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