5-year-old Dax Paget lead state police to the family's car where his 46-year-old father was having a stroke. (courtesy Oregon State Police)
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
A "very bright" 5-year-old boy helped to save his father's life after he calmly guided state troopers to his car while his father was having a stroke by the side of a highway, authorities said.
Troopers were able to locate the spot where Dax, 5, and his father, Richard Paget, 46, of Spokane, Wash., had pulled over thanks to the boy's calm demeanor and vivid descriptions of his surroundings, Oregon State Police spokesman Lt. Gregg Hastings told ABCNews.com.
"The trooper who was on the phone with the boy said he was very calm and he was very helpful," Hastings said. "He answered all of the questions that the trooper asked and gave descriptive details to help them have a general idea of where they needed to go and look."
"I don't have kids, but when I do I hope they turn out like Dax," Oregon State Police Trooper Joseph Dezso told ABCNews.com. "He is a super brave, super intelligent little man. I really applaud him for what he did."
The boy and his father were traveling from Spokane, Wash., to Oregon City, Ore., when Dax's mother, Rachael Ballard, called 911 in Spokane County, Wash., at 7:30 a.m. Sunday. Ballard told dispatchers that her son called her and told her he needed help because his father was having a medical emergency, according to a statement issued by police.
Using the cell signal of Paget's cell phone, authorities tried to track where the boy and his father were located, but it generated a 15-mile area of where they may have stopped, Hastings said.
But it wasn't until Dezso called Paget's phone that officials were able to narrow their search.
"Initially, I had talked to Mr. Paget, but his speech was very garbled, so Dax stepped in and took over," Dezso said. "He immediately started talking to me about where they were and what was going on. He started leading us in the right direction."
"Everything that he answered was spot on," Hastings said. "Where they were at, there were only a couple of buildings around them, and [Dax] described them in detail. That, along with the fact that the train was passing by, was very helpful for us to get there as quickly as we could."
The train detail helped expedite the search tremendously, Hastings said, allowing troopers to narrow their ground to a three-mile stretch along Interstate 84, where there were tracks nearby.
When an officer found the vehicle where Dax had been waiting with his father near Hermiston, Ore., Paget "couldn't communicate with him at all," Hastings said.
Paget was rushed to Good Shepherd Medical Center in Hermiston, Ore., before he was transported to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, Wash., where he is recovering. He was in satisfactory condition, a spokeswoman for the hospital told ABCNews.com.
"He is a very bright young man and definitely saved his dad's life. We are so glad to hear his father should pull through," said Dezso.
Despite the frightening ordeal he endured, Ballard told Oregon State Troopers that her son wants to be a police officer someday.
"I think that his time with us and with our troopers was something that he'll remember and I know our troopers will remember forever," Hastings said.
ABC News' attempts to reach Ballard were not immediately successful.