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Warning: This article contains graphic descriptions of serious injuries.
Retired UFC fighter Brendan Schaub thought he'd just be driving to dinner on Aug. 12. Instead, he allegedly helped save the lives of four children who had been in a terrifying car crash that their own father allegedly caused while trying to kill his entire family.
Schaub told the story on his podcast, "The Fighter and the Kid," and the details range from heroic to heartbreaking.
Schaub helps rescue four children
It starts with Schaub and his wife driving to dinner on Aug. 12 in Encino, California. While they were on the freeway, Schaub's wife told him to slow down because she saw an accident ahead of them: a tractor-trailer had jackknifed and was blocking several lanes of traffic. As they got closer, Schaub spotted a 6 or 7-year-old kid waving for help on the top of a partially crushed vehicle, and noticed that there were multiple other children in the car.
Schaub drove ahead, told his wife to stay in the car, and got out to help. The tractor-trailer that collided with the car was leaking huge amounts of gasoline, which got all over him. He said that he was momentarily worried about something happening to him, and thought of his family, but continued forward to help because the kids in the car were in immediate danger.
Here's what Schaub said happened next, via MMAFighting.com:
“The car’s all f***ing mangled, and there’s one other guy there who’s on the scene, maybe it’s the truck driver, I’m not sure, but me and him are the first ones on the scene,” Schaub said. “There’s two kids and there’s a bigger kid and he keeps going, ‘I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die,’ and I go, ‘You’re not going to die, buddy, you’re not going to die.’ I tell the guy back up, so I grab the door but it’s mangled from the crash, so it’s intertwined with the car.
“So I break the window, we break some of the window out. It’s already broke, I’m not like f***ing Captain America, so I’m pulling all the shattered glass and I take the kid through [the window].”
Schaub said that after he pulled the kid through the window, he noticed the front passenger seat. A woman, later identified as the children's mother, had already died from injuries she sustained during the crash. As he was trying to pull out a younger child, around 3 or 4 years old, he tried to make sure the kid wouldn't see his mother like that.
“I look and in the front is a lady who passed away,” Schaub described. “Brain matter everywhere, blood everywhere, and the kid’s going ‘mama, mama’ and I go, ‘Bubba, look at me, don’t look over there.’ He was so young, it would have completely f***ed him up. I go, ‘Look at me, don’t look over there, look at me.’”
Schaub got emotional several times while telling the story, especially when he recalled his conversation with the kid who had waved for help on top of the car.
"I kept telling him 'Dude, you're a badass. You're such a badass. You're so brave, man. I'm so proud of you. I know you don't know me, but I'm so proud of you, because you're the reason I stopped and got your brothers. I'm so f***ing proud of you.'"
Father charged with murder
Before Schaub pulled the kids out of the car, he said that he noticed a man in a white tank top running across the freeway, away from the accident. The man got hit by a car, but then got up and continued running away.
The man Schaub saw was the children's father, identified as 31-year-old Cesar Iban Torres by prosecutors. He allegedly drove into oncoming traffic and caused the crash in an effort to kill his entire family. The only fatality from the accident was 26-year-old Aimee Garcia, Torres' girlfriend and the mother of all four children. Torres has been charged with murder, attempted murder, child abuse, assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest.
Garcia's aunt, Angie Fuentes, has started a GoFundMe to help pay for Garcia's funeral. Schaub posted the link to the GoFundMe on the YouTube page for his podcast, and talked about wanting to help the children in any way he could.
“I reached out to the aunt cause I’ll help pay for the funeral, I told her I’ll help pay for the funeral, but I want to help those kids out. How do you help the kids?” Schaub said via MMAFighting.com.
“I sent her an email and hopefully she gets back to me on that. What do you do? I don’t know what you do. I can raise money for them, I can do that.”
The GoFundMe for Garcia's funeral has raised over $47,000. Numerous contributors commented that they intend to donate more if a fund is set up for the children.
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