Mindy Tran, 22, and her twin daughters had been living in a homeless shelter when they were lucky enough to find housing in a duplex at 18 Marston St. in Lawrence. The girls, Saleen and Sydney, were in a new day care and Tran, who recently became a certified medical assistant, was job hunting.
Tran felt like things were coming together for her and her 2-year-olds.
Then came the evening of March 6.
Tran’s Honda Accord was backed into her short, but steep driveway abutting busy Marston Street. Saleen and Sydney were buckled into their car seats and the car was running. Tran stood outside the car, chatting on her cell phone. She was going to take the girls for something to eat.
But as rush-hour traffic whizzed past, the Accord started rolling down the driveway, heading into Marston Street.
In a heartbeat, Tran ran to the front of the car, desperately pushing on the hood, trying to stop the 2,000-pound sedan — with her toddlers inside — from rolling into the street. “I just kept holding it, trying to get a grip on it,” she said.
But Tran, who stands just 5 feet, 1 inch tall and weighs 130 pounds, proved no match for the moving Accord.
The car rolled over her, trapping her underneath the rear axle.
“When I went under the car, that’s when I could hear my daughters crying,” Tran said. “They didn’t start crying until they couldn’t see me anymore.”
Her new next door neighbor — who she didn’t even know — crawled under the car and tried to calm her down. Another grabbed a jack and tools and tried to lift the car off her. Firefighters came and used specialized airbags to lift the car up.
The whole extrication took about an hour. Tran remained conscious the entire time. The car with her girls buckled inside never went into Marston Street.