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Laura Seitz, Deseret Morning News
Jace Muir lost 3 teeth and has two staples in his head from the accident.

Five gray chunks are all that is left of Jace Muir's best friend's helmet. Thanks to his friend's urging that he wear it, 5-year-old Jace is alive today.

Jace was playing at the friend's house a week ago, riding a skateboard "skeleton" — lying on his stomach and going headfirst down the friend's driveway and into the street. The "daredevil," as his mother Julie Muir calls him, didn't see the car coming.

"It just takes a second; that's all it took in this case. They were at a friend's house and were playing with the friend's skateboard and the friend told him to wear a helmet," Muir said.

What happened next would have been fatal had Jace not been wearing that helmet, his mom said.

Jace sped out of the driveway — and ended up headfirst beneath the back tire of a neighbor's car.

"The back wheel ran over his head completely, the whole weight of the car," Muir said emotionally.

But from the moment Muir saw her son, she said she knew he would be fine.

"He was crying and bleeding. I felt like he would be OK, and that was before anyone else, any of the medical teams, got there. But he was OK. I knew he was OK. He told me he was going to be OK, too," Muir said.

The same can't be said for the helmet.

"The helmet is literally in pieces. It basically came off except for the strap," Muir said.

South Jordan police officer Jodi Skogg was the first to arrive. She found the boy bleeding badly from his nose and mouth but felt reassured because of his crying. Until the fire department and emergency services arrived, Skogg tried to calm the 19-year-old driver of the vehicle that struck Jace.

"I feel so bad," Muir said. "There was nothing she (the driver) could do about it. There was a vehicle with trailers and trees, and she couldn't see them. There are a lot of victims when something like this happens."

As Todd Muir, Jace's father, described his arrival at the accident scene, his voice faltered, saying "they never tell you how bad the accident really is." He wasn't prepared for what he saw: An entire armada of emergency services had arrived — police cars, firetrucks and ambulances.

Due to the nature of his injuries, Jace was rushed to Primary Children's Medical Center via helicopter.

It was there that Jace's parents were told that he would have to undergo multiple surgeries to help repair the two cracks in his jaw bone.

But once the swelling had gone down around his jaw, doctors discovered there was no need to perform an operation. The bones in his jaw had set themselves perfectly. Jace lost three of his baby teeth and has two staples in his head. He isn't supposed to run for six more weeks, but according to his mother, "his injuries have not slowed him down."

Four days following his dramatic entrance at the hospital, Jace returned home and is behaving like any 5-year-old would — bouncing around the house, laughing and smiling.

"Put helmets on," Todd Muir said. "There is no better testament than looking at that helmet and seeing him."

E-mail: nhale@desnews.com