Man Fresh out of Prison Hears Violent Car Crash. Minutes Until Curfew, Saves Baby Dangling from Car Seat

Man Fresh out of Prison Hears Violent Car Crash Minutes Until Curfew Saves Baby Dangling from Car Seat

Ex-con Josh Tangehahl wanted nothing more than to stay on the straight and narrow. A mere three months after a 17-year jail sentence for manslaughter, he was out on work release and subject to a strict curfew.

So when he and his girlfriend witnessed a terrible car wreck in downtown Spokane, Washington, during the evening of July 17, he faced a ferocious dilemma: Should he speed home to stay within the terms of his release or help the injured passengers and risk going back to jail?

Tangehahl had happened upon the wreck as he and his girlfriend were driving through the city. They noticed a car driving erratically, and he urged his girlfriend to follow it.

The car then sped through an intersection at close to 60 mph and struck a van, flipping it over. That vehicle contained the Rose family, which included mother Cora Rose and her seven-month-old son Dante.

“That’s when I looked at the clock and was like, ‘Man, I need to get back, because if I’m not back, I’m going back to prison,’” Tangehahl told KHQ. But as soon as he heard Dante howling, he knew what he had to do.

“I heard crying, but I didn’t know where the baby was,” he explained. “The seat had been dislodged.

“The toddler was out of its harness on one side with the strap around its neck. The seat was upside down, so the baby was hanging on it.

“It was terrifying. And the baby was crying. It’s a tiny baby.”

The accident was so severe that it shut down traffic at a normally heavily congested part of the city for for several hours. Neither Tangehahl nor the Rose family were aware at the time that the driver of the other vehicle was under the influence of alcohol and cannabis.

Fortunately, Dante wasn’t severely injured, and the rest of the Rose family looks likely to fully recover. Cora Rose credits Tangehahl’s fast action for that.

“I remember I looked back, and I don’t remember if I said anything to him,” she said to The Olympian. “But I saw his hat and his eyes, and he told me, ‘I have your baby, everything is OK, I have your baby.’”

In addition to drawing praise from several news sources, Tangehahl has received accolades from a surprising source. The Washington State Department of Corrections held up him as an example on its Facebook page.

“Mr. Tangehahl risked his freedom for another person,” the post stated. “The Washington State Department of Corrections values and acknowledges that people have the need and ability to grow and change, and we support their endeavors.”

For his part, Tangehahl doesn’t want to be called a hero. He’s simply happy he could help.

“I just did what I thought was the right thing,” he said. “This is kind of polar opposite of everything I’ve been through.”

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