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A home mechanic’s worst fear is their vehicle falling off its jack and jack stands. This horrifying nightmare became reality for Matthew Wilkinson of Oakdale California. Luckily, his 15-year-old son was there and saved his life.

Wilkinson’s work truck broke down on a Monday, and he knew he would need it for work the rest of the week. So Monday night, he jacked it up outside his California home. But from the beginning, the job did not go smoothly.

The first step was disassembling the rear brakes. As Wilkinson recalled, “We were having problems getting the rotor off.” Suspecting the part was rusted in place, he slid under the truck to get a better angle, with more leverage. Then the rotor came loose and disaster struck.

“The second it popped off, the truck fell. I know it rolled forward because I saw it roll forward. And it fell right on top of me.”

Yellow trolley jack beneath a pickup truck.
Truck on jack | WeirdLittleBiscuit via iStockPhoto

Wilkinson’s work truck is even heavier than a regular pickup. Instead of a stock bed, it has a utility body that I can only assume was loaded with tools. After it rolled forward off the jack, the right rear corner crashed own onto his upper body. He described being crushed by the truck as a truly terrifying experience. “All I could think about was the breath coming out of me. I was just squished. And I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t yell.”

But Matthew Wilkinson’s 15-year-old son, Dalin, was outside helping his dad. He said of the moment the truck fell, “You can see it dropped right on him, and I was scared. I heard him making a noise like his soul was leaving his body. It was crazy.”

According to Dalin, “I was jumping around, asking ‘What to do, what to do, what to do?’ And I didn’t know what to do.” But during a life-and-death situation, a heartbeat can feel like an eternity. And Wilkinson’s security camera footage shows Dalin immediately step over his trapped father and to the back of the truck.

The teenager bent his knees, put his hands beneath the bumper, braced his shoulder against the utility body, and leaned into the truck to lift the right, rear corner off his dad.

Wilkinson was rushed to the hospital with a punctured lung, broken ribs, and a separated shoulder. But he survived. He said, “My son is my hero, he saved my life.”

You can see the security footage of the accident and an interview with Matthew and Dalin Wilkinson in the video below:

Thanks to Dalin’s heroic quick-thinking, the Wilkinsons’ story has a happy ending. But many an amateur mechanic has been killed by a falling vehicle. If you plan on working on your car or truck at home, make certain it is on level ground and that you are using a safety device such as a jack stand.

Check out 1A Auto’s excellent video on how to safely jack up a car or a truck in the video below: