The woman," instead of going to the ambulance where her son was, she went to where the driver was standing and hugged her in an attempt to console her."
Michael Robinson was a part of the law enforcement for 35 years. He worked at the Sheriff’s Civil Office at the Marion County Judicial Center in Ocala, and he recently retired. Robinson shared a bittersweet note on Facebook about one of his encounters, dating back to 2007. On July 20, the same year, as Robinson arrived at the Sheriff’s Civil Office around the afternoon, he was asked to handle a child custody order, around 10 miles outside his assigned zone. While en route to the residence, I heard the dispatcher trying to make contact with another deputy on the radio who didn't respond right away. I could tell from a voice in the background that something was wrong.
I pulled up the dispatch screen on my MDT computer and saw the call where a vehicle had struck and possibly killed a three-year-old child in the Hunters Trace subdivision. I was two blocks away, so I abandoned the child custody order and responded to the accident scene. When he turned around the block where the accident occurred, he noticed a car in the middle of the road, and he saw two women kneeling over a child lying on the road. Apparently, a 71-year-old woman had hit the child. The second woman, in her late 20s, was administering CPR on the child while talking to first responders over the phone. Robinson got out of his car and began to help. as well.
When the medic unit arrived, one of the paramedics yelled for everyone to get out of the way. She ran and scooped up the child and ran back to the ambulance. While the medics were working on resuscitating the child in the ambulance, I turned my attention to the woman who had been doing CPR and asked her if she knew the mother of the child. I can still see Cathi's face as she looked into my eyes and said, "I am the mother." She told me that she still had a four-year-old child that she needed to check on and she went into the house. By then, Robinson noticed that the woman who hit the child was crying as she stood by herself near the car.
Eventually, Cathi and her four-year-old son, Chase, came outside to the driveway where we were standing. She stated that she and her son were going to do "prayer hands" and asked if we wanted to join her. She knelt down with her son, lifting her hands to the Lord, while I stood with my hand on her right shoulder and the driver stood with her hand on her left shoulder and we prayed silently. Cathi then stood up and took Chase inside. Robinson then spoke to the paramedics who told him that the child wasn't going to make it. He noticed that the distraught driver was weeping uncontrollably as Cathy made her way back outside.
Robinson was not prepared for what was about to happen. However, instead of going to the ambulance where her son was, she went to where the driver was standing and hugged her in an attempt to console her. Many tragedies like this that I’ve responded to bring out the worst in people. I saw the best come out of Cathi. Her response to Ethan's death was a source of strength to me and all those who were there. Ethan died on his birthday, July 20th. Jay (Ethan's father) and Cathi wanted July 20th to be remembered as the day Ethan was born into this world, not the day he left, so July 20th is now known as Ethan's day.
He concluded the post by writing: Cathi later shared with me that she had been using the blower to clean the front porch to get ready for Ethan's birthday party. Ethan and his brother, Chase, were playing with a small soccer ball in the garage. The ball got away from them and rolled down the driveway into the street. Ethan took off after it. The late afternoon sun had blinded the driver and she didn't see Ethan until it was too late. Cathi had asked me to get the names of everyone who had a part in trying to save Ethan so that she could thank them. Altogether, there was approximately 75 people involved, including the behind-the-scenes communications personnel.