Man Saved After Car Drops On His Chest

CITRUS HEIGHTS (CBS13) — A Citrus Heights man was under a car when it came crashing down on him. Luckily for Richard Pfand, his daughter was just feet away.

“I just heard a really loud thud,” Elizabeth Pfand said..

She couldn’t believe where that thud came from.

“Something gave way underneath the car,” Richard said.

Richard was underneath the car fixing it when the jack gave way.

“And it fell right on his chest, that’s where the car fell,” Elizabeth said.

“I remember the weight coming down on my chest,” Richard said of the incident, which happed two weeks ago.

It was crushing him. “I couldn’t breath,” he said.

Elizabeth ran to her dad’s side.

“Basically what I remember is she says ‘what do you want me to do?’ and I kind of looked over and said ‘try and jack the car up.'”

But the jack was broken and wouldn’t do anything, so she quickly called 911.

“I remember her getting on the phone and her calling somebody and that’s pretty much it,” Richard said.

Elizabeth was frantic when the 911 operator asked her her emergency. “My dad was working on a car and it fell on him,” she blurts out.

The dispatcher tries calming her down and asks if her father could breath.

“Dad, can you breath?”

“Barely,” Richard can be heard on the 911 tape.

“He says barely,” Elizabeth tells the dispatcher.

Slipping in and out of consciousness, Richard tells Elizabeth he’s dying.

“He started saying things like ‘I want you to know how much I love you and tell your mom I love her’ and all these things,” Elizabeth said. “I thought I was watching my dad die.”

Help finally arrived in the form of two Citrus Heights officers.

“She was pretty frantic, which is to be expected,” Citrus Heights Police Officer Jeff Schouten said.

Schouten and his partner, Community Services Officer Aaron Copeland, were the first responders.

“One looked at me and said ‘you need to find another jack,'” Elizabeth said.

She checked the garage and found one.

Shouten jacked the car up and Copeland pulled Richard out.

“Once the weight of the car came off him, he went limp,” Copeland said.

They were ready to perform CPR but “he took a breath regained consciousness and started talking again,” Copeland said.

“The next thing I remember was a paramedic cutting open my shirt,” Richard said. “I just want to thank them for my life. They’re worth every tax dollar I paid.”

Richard says despite a few broken ribs and a deflated lung, he’s back at work and things are back to normal.

His family, however, has told him he’s not allowed to work on cars anymore.

More from Ron Jones
  • JMHO

    The moral of the story is you NEVER, EVER work under a car with only a jack there to support it. Once the jack props the car at the right height, you should support the car with a jack stand. It would have been nice if the article pointed that out as a way to educate the public.

    I’m glad this man is okay and hope others learn from his mistake.

  • In memory of Jim Patterson

    Jack stands can’t be trusted!
    Most are cheaply made in China out of stamped metal, and one should NEVER trust their life to one of them.
    A friend of mine was crushed to death when a jack stand failed…it was twisted like a pretzel!

  • bsly

    That’s why you use 2 jack stands, not just 1 jack and 1 jack stand. Anyways, I’m super glad this man is alive to tell about it..congratulations on your 2nd chance at life my friend.

  • logan

    I’m glad he is okay, but he should have used jack stands, and not be working on it in his uneven driveway.

  • OldFriend

    Richard, Thank God your okay. I once heard from a skipper that the way to go is by water and sea. Stay on the water.

    • Richard

      I agree. Thanks old friend.


    Sounds like MY mechanic. His “shop” is in the driveway of an abandoned house, and he uses a crow bar for everything. He says it’s much faster in removing an old part and he saves money by not having to buy a wrench set. He makes his own oil filters using small coffee cans filled with toilet paper. The “deluxe” filter is filled with an old T-shirt and it lasts much longer. I always buy the more expensive filter. I don’t believe in being cheap when it comes to car maintenance and repair.

    • pediabrown

      …..that is great! Still laughing…..

  • gna

    I hate to call people names but this appleknocker is a dope

    • shelly

      If you hate to call people names then maybe you should not be such a nob head and just shut up. Everyone makes mistakes, can we just be thankful for the quick action of the police.

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