Getting in a car accident is terrifying, but it's even more terrifying when you have a child in the car. Any parent will tell you they want their baby saved first, which is what those "Baby On Board" stickers indicate.
Accidents happen all the time, and we often forget how personal they can be for responding officers and personnel. Photojournalist Sam Hernandez showed a side of responding officers that we don't often get to see.
On May 27, there was a major crash in Dallas involving a young family of five. Two adults and three children were in the car when it hit a piece of debris in a construction zone and went flying. The Chevy Trailblazer rolled multiple times, and the situation was dire.
Officer Donald Boice was working a different crash not far away, and he heard about this one. He knew immediately he had to help out.
"The comments on the call sheet were that the vehicle had overturned and there were multiple children trapped inside the car,” he recalled. "Honestly, my thoughts were just, 'Please, God. Not another [casualty] tonight.'"
The accident was being worked by the sheriff's office, which Officer Boice is not a part of. He didn't have to do anything, in fact, he could have just kept working his own crash and then gone
But instead, he chose to use his fatherly instincts.
“At that point, you kind of go from cop to parent real quick,” Boice said.
When Boice arrived on scene, the kids had managed to be rescued from the car by bystanders. There was a five year old, a two year old, and a three-month-old baby.
"Both parents were screaming, ‘Please don't let my baby die. Please don't let my babies die,’” Boice recalled.
He checked on all the kids to make sure they were okay, and took them away from all the chaos around the accident. But he made sure to keep the kids in the line of sight of their mother, who was being cared for at the ambulance. The father suffered a fractured arm and injured head, but everyone else seemed okay.
The youngest child, Jackson, was overwhelmed by it all, and Boice knew he needed to help out.
"The best I can do is just kind of keep him, bounce him, sing to him the same songs that I sang to my kids when they were that age,” the officer said.
That's when Hernandez started snapping pictures of the touching moment. They started going completely viral, with people heralding Boice for his above-and-beyond actions.
“The hardest part of it was convincing the mother that her children were going to be ok… and to please ‘let me hold your baby, while you get treatment’,” said Boice. "That could be my child, too. And I'd want someone treating my child the same way."
The family, originally from Michigan, was extremely lucky to walk away with minor injuries. Officer Boice credits the car seats the kids were in for them remaining unharmed.
The photos of Boice and his heartwarming actions went completely viral, and Boice couldn't be happier.
“It’s great to let people know that we’re humans too. Most of us have kids, and we don’t forget… We aren’t just there to put people in jail, we are there to help people,” said Boice.
The reaction online has been incredible:
"Key thought most forget about when treating others 'that could be my child,'" said one woman.
"God bless him! I think the same way when dealing with young people cause I have two daughters and I want people to treat them well," another added.
"This is the kind of picture need <3," wrote another.
Tearing up, watching the video of this
@DallasPD officer hold, rock and sweet talk this baby. Thank you, OfficerBoice!" April Massett wrote on Twitter.