OTTAWA, Kan. – A Kansas mother is praising a neighbor as "Superman" after her 6-year-old daughter told her he somehow found the strength to lift a car off her. The girl escaped with minor injuries after she and neighbor Nick Harris said she was pinned under the vehicle.
"He really is Superman," Kristen Hough, the child's mother, said Friday of Harris, the man she said saved her daughter, Ashlyn.
Harris, 32, said he doesn't know how he managed to lift the Mercury sedan off the child. The 5-foot-7, 185-pound Harris said he tried later that day to lift other cars and couldn't.
"But somehow, adrenaline, hand of God, whatever you want to call it, I don't know how I did it," he said.
Harris was dropping off his 8-year-old daughter at school last week when he saw a driver backing her car out of a driveway and over the child, Harris said.
"I didn't even think. I ran over there as fast as I could, grabbed the rear end of the car and lifted and pushed as hard as I could to get the tire off the child," he said.
He realized the little girl was Ashlyn, a friend of his daughter's. Harris carried the screaming first-grader to the sidewalk and was going to get his phone to call 911, but Ashlyn said she wanted him to stay with her.
He told people nearby to get the child's mother, who lives a block away.
There were no witnesses to confirm what happened. But Ottawa police Lt. Adam Weingartner said, "I don't have anything to dispute it."
Hough said Ashlyn told her Harris lifted the car off her, Weingartner said.
Weingartner, the first officer at the scene, said Harris "was amped up pretty good. The first words out of his mouth were, 'I lifted the car off the girl.'"
He said it appeared Ashlyn wasn't pinned under the car long enough to be seriously hurt, Weingartner said.
Hough said her daughter was released from the hospital that afternoon with a concussion and some scrapes.
"She is my little walking miracle right now," Hough said. "He truly is a superhero in the family's eyes."
Harris also visited Ashlyn later that day and was greeted with a big hug.
"I don't consider myself a hero at all," Harris said. "To me, it was payment enough when she gave me that huge hug and said, 'Thanks, Superman.'"