Web Exclusive: Daughters free dad from a tractor accident

Web Exclusive

(CNN/KGW) - Teenage sisters are credited with saving their father's life after he was trapped underneath a three-thousand-pound tractor.

In the quiet country 15 miles east of Lebanon, Oregon, people know how to take care of themselves. It's essential.  Emergency medical care is a long ways off.

"About 20 minutes probably," says a Lebanon resident.  Which is why there was no room for error when Jeff Smith nearly went for the last ride of his life on his 1949 tractor.

"I reached for the shifter, but my boot had a lot of mud on it and my foot slipped off the clutch and it just walked that tractor straight over backwards on top of me," says Jeff Smith. 

He was pinned in the middle of his garden.  His daughters were out walking their dogs and with no one else around, he did the only thing he could.  He screamed for help.

"Which was scary because it was on my chest.  Every time I called out for help it was kinda like a constrictor.  Every time I yelled out I lost some of that, I could only get some of that back," says Smith. 

His daughters heard the cries and ran back to the house. "He was just laying in the dirt under the tractor and screaming and he would not stop screaming," says Hannah Smith. 

They tried to dig him out but couldn't. So, they grabbed onto the heavy iron machine-weighing three-thousand pounds and lifted.

Hannah remembered thinking, "This is really heavy, but I need to get it off of him."  "I was saying God help me over and over cause I obviously could not lift it myself.  It was heavy," says Haylee Smith.

But not heavier than their desire to save their dad. They raised it just enough for him to slide out.

"They're great girls, but that's a lot of weight. To think I mean, honestly, I'm a big guy I don't know if I could do it," says Smith.

Eight days after it happened 16 year old Hannah and 14 year old Haylee still struggle to explain how they did it. Maybe it's because they knew they had to rescue their father.  They couldn't wait 20 minutes and maybe its because they didn't have time to wonder if it was possible.

"It's crazy," says Hannah.  "I can't believe we did it."

"It's kinda like a dream when you think back," says Haylee.

A neighbor finished the job by using his own tractor and its shovel to lift the smith's tractor and allow smith to get his arm out.

Jeff survived with a broken wrist, cuts, bruises and a profound appreciation for the strength of his daughters.


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