CRESTVIEW — As a panicked resident cradled his unresponsive toddler in the front yard, three strangers answered his oldest daughter's cries for help and rushed the family to the hospital.
Jeremy Fouquet was doing homework April 24 as his daughter Alissa, 9, and her best friend Amber Panitzke, 10, played with 3-year-old Elizabeth. Suddenly, Elizabeth began having a seizure.
"She was just giving Elizabeth a hug and she started shaking," Alissa said of her friend. "She was so scared she called my daddy, 'Daddy.'"
"I was like, 'Daddy, Elizabeth's shaking,'" Amber said. "It was scary."
"I went into panic mode because I had never dealt with a seizure before," Fouquet said.
Fouquet said he "did everything wrong," grabbing Elizabeth and running for his truck to take her to the hospital while his father, Ward Fouquet, who lives with the family, called 911.
Discovering that his wife, Jessica, had taken the truck to work, Fouquet started looking for a neighbor with a vehicle while calling out for someone to help them. Alissa and Amber tried to flag down passing motorists.
Jeremy Fouquet said Elizabeth's eyes were wide, fixed, and the girl was "totally out."
"I thought she had died so I started pumping her chest and ... everyone that gathered around started to try to stop cars," he said.
Multiple vehicles passed the family's Pearl Street home, one stopping but only to criticize the girls.
"This blonde lady in an SUV stopped and said we were stupid for trying to flag down cars," Alissa said.
Then college students Tahnee Burnette, Carissa Phillips and Lexi Burnette pulled into the driveway and took Jeremy and Elizabeth to North Okaloosa Medical Center.
With Tahnee at the wheel, "I won’t say that they broke any laws but they got me to the hospital in about three minutes flat," Fouquet said.
Jessica Fouquet said that emergency room doctors believe Elizabeth had a virus that led to the seizure. The toddler has now recovered.
"She's doing great now," Jessica said. "She's back to running around and being her own crazy self."
"Out of all those people who drove by, thank God there were three people who weren’t in a hurry for something more important," Jeremy Fouquet said. "They were on their way to do college girl stuff. They didn't have to stop and help."
"Angels never know when they're doing God's work," Ward Fouquet said.
"These girls were unselfish, caring and most of all, heroes," his son added. "I'd count my blessings but there are too many."
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.