July 3, 2012
In Medford, OR a 2-year-old fell off a three-story downtown building. Twenty-year-old Kristen Beach caught the boy as he fell and may have saved the toddler’s life. The boy was unharmed as Beach held fast to his torso during the fall, her knees giving way under his weight.
“I said: It’s OK, baby; if you fall, I will catch you,” Kristen Beach recounted.
Beach was outside her apartment building on Main Street talking to her mother when she heard screams from across the street.
The boy was hanging onto a small lip around the edge of the roof of the former Fluhrer’s Bread building. Beach knew the boy did not have the strength to pull himself back up onto the roof after she spent about two minutes talking to him while he just hung there. She told the boy she would catch him and he ended up letting go.
“He was crying when he was up there. I could see the tears and the snot running down his face,’ she said. “I was completely ready. But I was terrified.”
Cathy Blake, Beach’s mom, said she was next to the Medford Hotel when she saw the boy dangling from the roof.
“My daughter ran over very quickly,” she said. “I got on the phone and called 911. She was so brave to run over there and stand there and wait for the little boy to drop. She was just at the right place at the right time.”
Soon after the emergency service providers arrived, the father drove up and went to the hospital with the boy, Blake said.
“If my baby was in the same predicament, I would hope somebody else would do the same thing,” Beach said.
Medford police Sgt. D.J. Graham said the baby was examined by medical personnel and didn’t appear injured. He said Medford police and fire officials at the scene couldn’t believe that Beach had the mind to actually catch the baby. “It’s amazing,” said Graham.
A single-family residential unit is located inside the building where the boy’s family lives, Graham said. The mother, 22-year-old Amelia Marion Elizabeth Smith, was arrested and charged with child neglect and endangering a minor. She posted bail Sunday night.
After police arrived the boy’s mother came out of the building and was very grateful, Beach said.
“She just hugged me and said ‘thank you, thank you.”
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