Samaritans Wish They Could Have Done More | NBC Chicago

Samaritans Wish They Could Have Done More



    (Published Monday, Aug. 30, 2010)

    For the Samaritans who tried to help a family involved in a crash and for the relatives left behind, each day since Saturday has been bittersweet.

    Three men risked their own lives to rescue two young children and a family dog from a burning vehicle, but weren't able to save the mother.

    "It just hurt us that we were able to get the kids, but we couldn't get the mom out. And the little girl was crying so hard," said Flanders McCurdy.

    Christina Bates, 23, was killed in a fiery crash near 130th Street and South Evans Avenue early Saturday evening. Her 1993 Cadillac crashed into a pole and the force jammed the doors and confined Bates inside.

    As devastated as Bates' family members are, they said they consider themselves lucky and thankful that someone tried to help.

    "Christina was the perfect mom," said Bates' mother, Joyce Calvin. "Any other child would want to have her as a mother."

    McCurdy and two other men were able to get the girls, 3-year-old Jamiya and 4-month-old Jakayra, out of the vehicle before the heat became too intense. Jamiya was carried away with bumps and bruises and Jakayra has two broken legs, but both are expected to fully recover.

    "We took [Jamiya] across the street over in the grass and as she was sitting over there she was crying, but all she kept saying was, 'My momma! My momma's in there burning,'" McCurdy recalled Monday.

    Another rescuer, Curtis Hatcher, said that if there had been just a few more minutes, the group would have been able to rescue Bates as well.

    But despite their loss, Bates' family couldn't be more grateful.

    "Those guys that rescued my grandbabies, God knows, I thank you all," said Calvin, finding peace in her faith. "Christina came to me this morning, and she told, she said, 'Mom, I'm OK. Just continue to handle my business, which is take care of my mission.' And her mission to me is to take care of her daughters."