Bravery medal for girl, 5, who saved mom, brother in car wreck

A five-year-old girl’s bravery in saving her mother and baby brother following a car crash in Jasper National Park last summer was recognized in a ceremony at Edmonton police headquarters Monday.

Lexi Shymanski escaped car wreck, climbed steep embankment to flag down passing vehicle

Angela Shymanski talks about how daughter Aleis, 5, was able to save her and her baby's life 1:06

A five-year-old girl's bravery in saving her mother and baby brother following a car crash last summer was recognized in a ceremony at Edmonton police headquarters Monday.

Alexis, or Lexi, Shymanski was in her car seat in the back of the family's SUV when her mother, Angela Shymanski, fell asleep at the wheel about 15 kilometres from Jasper while driving to their home in Prince George, B.C.

The SUV careened down a 12-metre embankment, slammed into a tree and came to rest on its roof.

Lexi Shymanski with her mother Angela, father Travis and brother Peter during an awards ceremony at Edmonton police headquarters Monday. (Lydia Neufeld/CBC)
The Royal Canadian Humane Association described how Lexis awoke to her 10-week-old brother's cries.

After unsuccessfully trying to wake her mother, she took things into her own hands.

Lexi released her car seat's five-point harness, pushed the airbag away, kicked open the jammed door and climbed out of the severely damaged vehicle.  

She scrambled barefoot up the steep slope and flagged down a passing vehicle.

Lexi's mom had to be resuscitated twice on her way to hospital in Edmonton, where she underwent surgery for a broken back and extensive internal injuries. Her brother's injuries required a six-day hospital stay.

Lexi escaped with a scratch on her chin and a sore neck.  

"Her heroic efforts certainly saved her mother's and brother's life," the association said in awarding Lexi a Bronze Medal for Bravery.

Lexi Shymanski plans to take her medal to school for show and tell. (CBC)
After the ceremony, Travis Shymanski told reporters it was only a few months before the crash that he and his wife spoke to Lexi about how to get help in case of an emergency, something all parents should do.

"Prepare your kids," he said. "Don't try and shelter them from anything. It's impressive what they can do and what they retain from the little bit of information that you give them."

As for the medal, Lexi said her only plan so far is to "take it to school for show and tell."

Two motorists, Lise Lord and Richard Nowicki, who helped with the rescue were also commended.


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