Robert Hooper thought it was just going to be another normal day on the job.
He works for a towing company in Sweet Home, Oregon and received a call to pick up a broken down car on the highway. Janey Smith and her husband’s car had broken down on the side of the highway and needed a tow. Hooper arrived on scene and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. That is until Janey Smith noticed a car far down in an embankment and told Hooper about it.
Robert Hooper went to check on the car and that was when he noticed the body.
Hooper initially believed the person in the car had already passed. He told the Janey Smith to call the police and let them know they had found a body within the car, but Hooper was in for another shock.
“I made my way around to the underside and could see the top half of the body just laying there motionless, lifeless. As I started to turn around, one of his hand reached up, as to grab at something and I heard a very quiet and mumbled voice say, ‘help’,” Hooper wrote on his Facebook.
Hooper had stumbled upon 23-year-old Steven Ackerman.
Hooper made his way towards Ackerman by cutting and pushing the brush away, which was blocking Ackerman. Ackerman was begging Hooper to help get him out of the car but Hooper did not want to injure Ackerman anymore than he already was. He tried his best to keep Ackerman calm until the paramedics arrived.
“As I’m standing there telling this young man, ‘we found you buddy, hang in there, just a few more minutes, help is on the way’ over and over again the dispatcher told me to try and keep him calm which was damn near impossible in my adrenaline stupor. The minutes seemed like hours as I broke away the bushes away from his face waiting for the sounds of sirens,” Hooper explained on Facebook.
First responders arrived quickly and brought Steven Ackerman to the Good Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis, Oregon. He was initially admitted in critical condition but survived the ordeal. Robert Hooper, Janey Smith and her husband all saved Steven Ackerman’s life by the sheer luck of the Smith’s car breaking down in the spot it did.
Steven Ackerman had been trapped in his car for almost seven hours before Hooper had found him.
Ackerman was driving home after a 10 hour graveyard shift and fell asleep at the wheel. His car tumbled off the highway and down the embankment, away from view of drivers on the highway. Steven Ackerman was a newlywed with a new baby at home. Those seven hours must have been the most painful of his life, hoping to be found and return to his new and growing family.
Steven Ackerman sent a text to his wife before he started his drive home and falling asleep at the wheel.
The text read, “I’m very tired.”
Moments of heroism can occur at the most unexpected times. Thankfully Robert Hooper and the Smiths were able to save Steven Ackerman’s life. Yet, Hooper does not see himself as a hero. He believes he was just doing what was right.
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