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I Told Her I Would Stay': Hero Police Officer Crawls Under Bus to Hold Trapped Woman's Hand

"I said I would just stay under there with her until we got her out."

West Valley City, Utah police officer Kevin Peck wedged between an icy street and the undercarriage of a commuter bus held hands with the badly injured Aryann Smith on Dec. 12, 2011.

A Utah police officer is being called a hero after he crawled beneath a bus to comfort a woman who was pinned under it.

West Valley City police officer Kevin Peck was around the corner Monday when a transit bus struck 24-year-old Aryann Smith in a crosswalk, pinning her underneath and severely crushing both of her legs, Deseret News reported.

Peck said when he arrived on the scene, all he could see was Smith's white shoe sticking out from under the bus.

"I figured that there was probably a victim lying on to the ground next to the bus or in front of the bus. And as I got a little bit closer, I could see a white tennis shoe underneath," he told the newspaper.

Assessing the situation, he quickly discovered the woman had suffered severe injuries. He placed his body under the bus on the icy ground to take her pulse. After he took her hand, he didn't let go until fire crews were able to lift the bus off her and pull her out.

"She was very scared. She asked me not to leave. So I said I would just stay under there with her until we got her out. And she started telling me about her family and where she was headed. She was actually going to see a little boy who was being watched by her mother just down the road around the corner," Peck said. "I told her that I would stay there."

He told Deseret News that Smith remained remarkably calm during the ordeal for the most part, though there were moments when she became very scared.

"She was afraid she was going to die. And myself being under there, I'm just praying and hoping for some reason the bus doesn't move. We're right next to the tire underneath the bus, just trying to reassure her and keep her calm," he said.

He said he couldn't see her face because it was covered with blood and her hair, but he could see how severely her legs were injured.

"I could basically see into her leg. I could see muscle and tendon and a kneecap," he said. "She couldn't move, she couldn't get out. She told me she couldn't feel anything below her waist, which was probably a good thing for her."

Once they arrived, it took rescue crews several to lift the bus off and place a backboard under Smith, though Peck said it felt like it took much longer.

She was transported to the hospital and is doing well, according to Salt Lake City's ABC affiliate. She has reportedly been moved from intensive care to post-operative recovery, and is not expected to lose her legs.

Peck visited her in the hospital just days after the accident and told ABC, "It was good for me to see her...see how she's recovering. It was just a great experience."

Police said the bus driver likely did not see Smith in the crosswalk before she was struck. The driver has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

West Valley City put together this video with additional footage of the rescue:

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