A 5-year-old didn't panic as his dad began to suffer a stroke while driving. Instead, the boy remembered what his parents taught him about emergency situations.
The boy, from Spokane, WA, was able to help guide troopers to his unfamiliar surroundings on the side of Interstate 84 in eastern Oregon.
It all started at 7 a.m. Sunday. Oregon State Police dispatchers received a call from a woman in Spokane County, WA, reporting that her son had called her to say his dad was having a medical emergency at an unknown location, possibly somewhere in Oregon.
Police worked with the father's cellular phone company to determine the phone's signal had pinged on a cell tower near Stanfield, OR.
A trooper called the man's phone and learned Robert Paget, 46, believed he was suffering a stroke. The man's son, a 5-year-old boy named Dax, then got on the phone and tried to describe what he was seeing around him.
"He told me that they came into Oregon early this morning when it was still dark out," a trooper said over radio dispatch.
"He said he could not wake up the father, he was sleeping a lot," the conversation continued.
The boy then provided an invaluable piece of information. He said a train was passing by their car. Troopers then focused on Interstate 84 west of Interstate 82 in Hermiston where train tracks run parallel to the freeway lanes.
At 7:45 a.m., a trooper spotted the car near Milepost 177. An ambulance was redirected and took Paget to the hospital.
Trooper Joseph Dezso brought the boy back to his patrol car while emergency crews treated his father.
"He is a very bright young man and definitely saved his dad's life," Dezso said. "We are so glad to hear his father should pull through."
Paget was listed in critical condition Sunday, but police said he is expected to survive with family members reporting encouraging signs of improvement.
The boy's mother said she recently talked to her son about how to unlock a smartphone and call his mom or dad in an emergency. Police said all parents should teach their children how to unlock a smartphone screen, find the keypad and call 911 when it's appropriate.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Dax said he wants to be a police officer someday.
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