5-Year-Old Girl Credited with Saving Mom and Baby Brother After Their Car Drives Off the Road

5-Year-Old Girl Saves Mom, Baby Brother After Their Car Drives Off the Road
Lexi Shymanski (far left) with her family
Courtesy Angela Shymanski

08/02/2015 AT 12:30 PM EDT

A little girl's quick thinking apparently saved the lives of her mother and brother after the mom said she nodded off at the wheel and drove their car down an embankment, causing serious injuries to both herself and her infant son, the CBC reports.

"[My daughter] woke up and got out of her five-point harness, which she had only done once before, and she just climbed up the embankment to the highway and flagged somebody down," mom Angela Shymanski told the CBC.

The story of heroic 5-year-old Lexi is only now going public nearly two months after she flagged down a passersby following the crash, outside the Canadian town of Jasper, according to the CBC.

It happened on June 8, with Angela returning to Prince George with Lexi and son Peter, then 10 weeks old. A lullaby played in the car – lulling not just the kids to sleep, according to The Prince George Citizen.

Their SUV slipped off the road, traveling down a nearly 40-foot embankment and hitting a tree, back wheels in the air, according to the paper.

Awoken by Peter's cries, Lexi walked barefoot back up to the road, according to the paper.

Angela told Metro News she later found out the crash site wasn't visible from the road. She said her husband thought she was taking a different route home.

"It was only because [Lexi] came up and flagged people down that anybody would have stopped," Angela said. "It's crazy because the guy who came to see us in the hospital, he said the medics and the firemen needed ropes to get up and down that embankment, and she did it barefoot."

(Lexi suffered a small scratch and a soft tissue injury in her neck, according to the Citizen.)

Lexi first stopped a mom, dad and boy, according to the Citizen; and the man got Peter. The next person to help was a paramedic, who stayed with Angela until she was conscious, she said.

"It took him five tries before he could get cell service to call 911," Angela told the paper.

The following weeks were rough for the family – Angela told the Citizen she suffered small fractures in her neck and upper back and internal injuries including broken ribs and liver damage; and doctors diagnosed Peter with a brain bleed – but they are on the mend.

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Though still in a wheelchair, Angela was recently able to hold her now 4-month-old son again, according to the CBC, and returned home in late June.

"Everything has been quite chaotic," she told the Citizen. "Even now I sometimes wonder if this is a dream – is this real? And this is nothing compared to what some people go through."

Lexi has also suffered from nightmares, Angela said, "but I'm hoping when things settle down those will disappear. I carry major guilt over this whole thing."

A GoFundMe has been set up for the family. Angela, who teaches swimming, said she hasn't been able to work since the accident, and her husband has taken time off to focus on the family's healing.

So far the fund has raised more than $13,900 out of a $5,000 goal.
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