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Off-duty Shaw Air Force sergeants provide aid to little boy struck by car

7-year-old Sosa Francis was struck by a car while riding his bike on a crosswalk.

SUMTER, S.C. — A couple of heroes came to the rescue for 7-year-old Sumter resident Sosa Francis after he was hit by a car. 

Two sergeants from Shaw Air Force Base saw the accident, they jumped into action to help.

"There was just a million things going through my mind at once," Sosa's mother, Elayne Francis-Brunson, shared. "It was very terrifying because just to like be watching your kid and not know if they’re going to be okay, or if there’s any…like you can’t help 'cuz I was a few cars away. So it was just really scary."

She was out on a family bike ride on Dec. 2 when her oldest daughter and Sosa rode their bike across the street ahead of her. Right in front of her, an SUV struck Sosa while he was in the crosswalk.

"I had a quick reaction," Sosa told me. "I got off the bike and ran."

While Sosa ran to the side of the road, he wasn’t the only one who jumped into action.

"It was kind of like second nature. It just happened," Sgt. Marshall Dinkins shared about the incident.

Sgt. Dinkins and Darcy Kiefer with Shaw Air Force Base were on their lunch break when they watched the accident unfold. 

"We didn’t even think, we just did what we should do," Kiefer said.

In addition to her military training, Kiefer explained something else came into play.

"It was a little bit of my mom instinct too jumping in," Kiefer said. "I was already like opening the door, jumped out of the car and went straight to the kid to see if he was okay."

The pair checked on Sosa, gathered witnesses and kept Elayne and her other kids calm as they waited for first responders. 

"Even though the police wasn’t there yet, or the ambulance, it just felt really great to know that we had people there who cared and, like, if there was anything that I probably forgot - because you know I was panicked, like immediately we had people there who knew what to do," Elayne explained.

Sosa was taken to the hospital and tested. Thankfully, he didn’t have any major injuries and is now back at home with his family, which is an update Kiefer was anxiously awaiting.

"I really just got butterflies you saying that. And I’ve been wondering how he has been and am very thankful," Kiefer told me. "I knew he was going to be okay, but now to know for sure that he’s doing really good, I’m relieved."

Dinkins shared in that relief, and in his pride for Sumter. 

"It’s all the community. We all have to help out each other any way we can," Dinkins shared. "Even if I was in the military or not, I would still try to help out the best way I can."

Brunson tells me she's grateful her son is okay. She hopes this story is a lesson to other drivers.

"If you see pedestrians in a crosswalk, like, you’re supposed to yield to them. And it was just really scary 'cuz it’s like, it almost feels like people are such in a rush and a hurry today that they just don’t have any humanity anymore," Elayne said. "Just me as a mom, it’s just been making me want to hold all my kids tighter. They’re probably getting tired of me but more times in the day now I’m like ‘I love you guys, I’m glad you’re still here."

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