Newburyport Daily News
---- — Safety experts say one of the worst things you can do if your car starts rolling on its own is to try to stop it.
Unless you’re a super hero, the car will get the better of you.
But parental instinct outweighs the experts’ advice if your two infant daughters are buckled inside that moving vehicle.
So it was for Mindy Tran on the evening of March 6, when she strapped her 2-year-old twins, Saleen and Sydney, into her Honda Accord and prepared to take them for a bite to eat.
The car was backed into her driveway on Marston Street in Lawrence as she chatted on her cellphone before getting into the car herself.
Then the car started to roll down the sloping driveway as traffic whizzed by on Marston Street.
With no thought but the safety of her daughters, Tran tried to stop the one-ton car.
“I just kept holding it, trying to get a grip on it,” she told a reporter at our sister paper, the Sunday Eagle-Tribune.
Her 5-foot-1, 130-pound frame was no match, and she was run over and pinned under the rear axle — stopping the car before it could roll into traffic.
Amazingly, Tran remained conscious. “I went under the car, that’s when I could hear my daughters crying,” she said. “They didn’t start crying until they couldn’t see me anymore.
Tran paid a heavy price for her act of self-sacrifice to save her daughters.
She suffered a fractured pelvis, severe injuries to her legs and a separated left shoulder. She is unable to walk but is grateful she is beginning to regain feeling below her waist. Months of rehabilitation life ahead.
Neighbors came to her aid until firefighters arrived with special air bags to lift the crushing weight so her body could be freed.
The ordeal lasted an hour, but Tran did not pass out until she was in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
“I gotta tell you, she was so calm,” Lawrence fire Deputy Chief John McInnis said. “It was amazing with the amount of pain that poor lady was in.”
Today, she is a patient at Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital in Salem, N.H., slowly rebuilding her shattered body.
She says she has no doubt she will walk again. Nor do we.
Tran has already overcome many obstacles to build a better life for her family.
A Lawrence High dropout, she went back to school to earn a GED certificate and has trained to become a certified medical assistant.
After a period of homelessness, she had found a duplex for herself and her twins and was looking for a job when the accident happened.
“I’ve gone through a lot. So many odds. But I beat them all,” Tran said. “You gotta be a role model for your kids.”
What better role model could they have, once they are old enough to truly understand, than a mother who was willing to lay down her own life to preserve theirs?