11-year-old SC boy hailed a hero after helping his family escape a serious crash


NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – An 11-year-old boy jumped into action to save the lives of his aunt and cousins following a crash on I-26 over the weekend.

The boy’s aunt is recovering at the hospital after a serious crash Sunday evening. Her nephew, Ethan, is being hailed a hero.

“I’m 11 years old and I like to play baseball and watch my dad play softball, and swim,” he said during an interview Tuesday afternoon.

Ethan spent about five hours swimming with two younger cousins before driving with his aunt down I-26 on Sunday.

“We were going home because we were fixing to grill out, we were so hungry,” he recalled.

But when they were traveling near Exit 205… “a car cut us off and she just slammed on brakes.” Ethan and his family’s car slammed into a tree.

“Seeing a tree come at you, at like 60 mph, it’s scary,” said Ethan.

A third car also crashed onto the woods nearby. The vehicle that cut them off never stopped.

After the crash, Ethan noticed smoke in the car, and his aunt, Courtney, and 4 year old cousin, Cassidy, were unconscious.

“The window that was closest to me, I just punched it three times – the first time it cracked a decent amount. The second time it cracked a bunch and got it the third time, so I just punched it as hard as I can, and somehow it busted,” he said.

Ethan’s other cousin, Madeline, was alert – she only suffered a few scratches.

“I jumped out my sister’s door,” she remembered. “I climbed out of the window and went on I-26 and yelled for someone to call 911.”

Ethan had numerous cuts and scrapes from the accident and climbing through the shattered glass. But he only had one thought the whole time.

“That this car is gonna catch on fire and we are all gonna die. I just know that they were scared, and I was scared myself,” he said.

Cassidy has bruising on one side of her head and body, but no major injuries. Courtney, the aunt, was injured in numerous ways.

“She shattered her elbow, broke her collarbone, broke her hip, broke her foot, and a rib,” said grandmother, Michelle Nelson.

Ethan has heard himself described as a “hero” a lot since Sunday.

“He’s a hero, you know, that’s all I kept telling him – you are a hero, a real-life superman,” said Nelson.
“He didn’t need a cape, he didn’t need a special suit, you just did.”

“It’s cool, but it isn’t cool whenever you crash like that,” he said.

“They are all alive, and that is the most beautiful thing in the world,” said Nelson.

News 2 spoke with Courtney by phone on Tuesday. She was in the middle of a therapy session at the time. She’ll go through additional surgeries as the continued to recover from her injuries.

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