Woman helps boy survive 'internal decapitation' following car crash

A 4-year-old boy has survived an internal decapitation with the help of a police officer and his wife following an accident on an icy Idaho road.

Leah Woodward was with her husband, Joel, a police officer in Nampa, Idaho, when they saw the crash unfold. 

The accident happened after a hailstorm when Brandy Gonzalez and her 4-year son, Killian, were returning home from a birthday party. Gonzalez lost control of her vehicle and skidded into an oncoming vehicle. 


Gonzalez was pinned in the vehicle and her son was strapped to a booster seat, according to The Idaho Statesman.

Leah Woodward saw that Brandy Gonzalez was unable to move and her son was screaming in the back, but not moving.

“As a mom, that just goes right to your heart. My immediate instinct was: ‘You have to help that little guy,’”  Woodward told the Statesman.

Joel Woodward broke the back window using a trailer hitch and reached Killian. He instructed her to immobilize the head until help arrived.

Updates. Thank you all for caring for this family. It is crazy how you can get so invested in a story to which you're...

Posted by Leah Kaupanger-Woodward on Monday, June 6, 2016


“My first instinct would have been to cradle the little guy, but clearly that would have been the wrong choice,” Woodward said.

She held Killian's head steady for 30 minutes until emergency medics arrived and applied a collar before loading him into an ambulance.

Killian ruptured his spleen, broke multiple ribs and his arm. His skull was also separated from his spine, a condition known as clinical or internal decapitation.

According to KBOI, less than one percent survive the injury, but Killian is expected to make a full recovery. Also notable is that he will not undergo surgery

He is also walking and eating.

Read more about his recovery here.

Go Fund Me page has been created for Gonzalez and Killian to help pay for medical expenses.

Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.

X