Lifestyle & Human Interest

When Mail Truck Runs Over 4-Year-Old Boy’s Head, Helmet Miraculously Saves His Life


A Minnesota dad immediately started praying as he saw the mail truck bounce up as it drove away. When he saw his 4-year-old son under the truck, his heart sank and his medical training kicked in.

Thankfully, the young boy was wearing helmet and avoided severe injuries. The father is now calling it a miracle and urging parents to make sure their own kids are wearing their helmets.

May 11 was a beautiful, sunny day in Baxter, Minnesota. Christopher Groenwold was spending time with his daughter Haven, 6, and son Cohen, 4, in the cul-de-sac outside their home.

Christopher and Rebecca Groenwold with their two children, Haven, 6, and Cohen, 4.
Christopher and Rebecca Groenwold with their two children, Haven, 6, and Cohen, 4. (Courtesy of Christopher Groenwold)

The mailman arrived in the afternoon and Groenwold walked up to the truck to grab his mail while Haven and Cohen continued to ride around on their bikes. He turned toward the house, then back again to face the mail truck when he saw the truck pop off the ground.

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Groenwold said that as soon as he saw the truck bounce, he knew he needed to pray even though he didn’t know exactly what he was praying for yet.

“If you get put in a difficult, very bad situation, for some reason you open your heart and you pray,” Groenwold told Liftable, a section of The Western Journal. “Sometimes you don’t know what it’s for and that split second I didn’t know what it was for, but I just started praying.”

But once he saw Cohen in between the axles of the truck, his prayer quickly became, “Please have your hand on my son.”

“I heard kind of a pop. … He was crying and I grabbed him and put him in my lap. He had a little piece of helmet still left on him,” Groenwold told the Brainerd Dispatch.

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The young child immediately began screaming, which indicated to his father, a firefighter and trained emergency medical technician, that his youngest hadn’t suffered immense head trauma.

Groenwold continued to medically assess his son while the ambulance was on its way.

“After I grabbed him I sat down on the pavement right behind the truck and held him. It kinda came down to 50 percent father, 50 percent firefighter and EMT, so your son is now your patient,” he recalled, getting emotional.

Groenwold medically assessed his son while waiting for the paramedics to arrive. (Courtesy of Christopher Groenwold)

Even Cohen’s 6-year-old sister, Haven, understood that her brother needed comfort. After hearing her little brother crying, she immediately ran inside to grab Cohen’s blanket and favorite stuffed elephant.

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A crew from North Memorial Ambulance transported Cohen and his father to Essential Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center, where Cohen’s mother, Rebecca Groenwold, was working. Haven was able to ride in a police car that met the rest of the family at the hospital.

Thankfully Cohen’s helmet sustained most of the impact, leaving him with only minor abrasions and soreness.

Because the helmet protected Cohen, he only suffered minor abrasions, scratches and soreness. (Courtesy of Christopher Groenwold)

“I remember putting the helmet on him and not even 10 minutes later seeing it in 15 pieces,” he said.

The helmet saved his life,” Groenwold told the Brainerd Dispatch. “When the vehicle rolled over his head, if he didn’t have his helmet on he wouldn’t be playing here today.”

Cohen Groenwold’s helmet was completely shattered after a mail truck driver accidentally ran over his head. (Courtesy of Christopher Groenwold)

Groenwold and his wife have called their son’s recovery “truly a miracle” and thank God for answering his desperate prayer.

Baxter Police Chief Jim Exsted told the Brainerd Dispatch that the mail truck driver will not be facing any charges because it was a “freak crash.”

Groenwold also told Liftable that he and his family had already forgiven the driver. “On Saturday night we prayed for the driver because I can’t imagine being him,” he said.

Most importantly, he hopes that his family’s story shows others how important it is to wear a helmet. He even suggests letting your kids pick out their own helmet to make it more fun.

“In a split second it happened,” he said. “Put the helmets on. It takes two seconds to do it.”

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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