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Oklahoma Man Recovering After Being Struck By Runaway SUV

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Dallas Cheek had his mom post a "thumb's up" photo from his hospital bed. Dallas Cheek had his mom post a "thumb's up" photo from his hospital bed.
Cheek was injured when a runaway Geo Tracker struck him on Father's Day weekend. Cheek was injured when a runaway Geo Tracker struck him on Father's Day weekend.
Nurses floating down the Illinois River gave Cheek first aid until paramedics arrived. Nurses floating down the Illinois River gave Cheek first aid until paramedics arrived.
Dallas Cheek is recovering after extensive plastic surgery. Dallas Cheek is recovering after extensive plastic surgery.
CHEROKEE COUNTY, Oklahoma -

A Green Country man is on the road to recovery after falling face first off of a 15-foot bluff, while saving a stranger in the process.

Dallas Cheek and his family were having a Father's Day cookout on the Illinois River just a few hundred feet from their home. It was a day like many others until the unthinkable happened.

On any given summer day the Illinois River, just outside the Cheek family's back door, is packed full of floaters.

"It was awesome. All the floaters stopped and that's what they looked for, ya know? Where's the rope swing," said Pam Cheek.

The rope swing Pam is talking about sits atop the bluff. It's not unusual for strangers to stop by and give it a whirl. And Pam's son, Dallas, was usually out there to help. 

"You know, he likes to get out there and help all the pretty girls," said Pam.

6/17/2012 Related Story: Oklahoma Man Hit By Runaway SUV After Pushing Friend From Path

Dallas was doing just that last weekend. It was an ideal day: the sun was shining, and the family river car, a 5-speed Geo Tracker, was parked close by.

"They just parked over there in the shade. Turn on the radio, like any teenager would," said Pam.

The SUV was parked and left in reverse. The emergency break wasn't engaged. So, when Dallas asked a friend to start the car to listen to the radio, she mistakenly hit the gas instead of the brake.

"And I heard it rev up loud and saw it just go right off," said Pam.

Little did Pam know, her son had just been slammed into a tree, then thrown face first down the bluff, just after pushing the stranger he was helping on the rope, to safety.

"I was down there helping her get her balance and that's when the Tracker came this way," said Dallas.

"I just kept rolling, and I didn't get much time to think. I don't remember shoving the girl out of the way, but I do remember being hung up right here. I remember hurting and then I remember hitting the ground."

Amazingly, with the help of his sister, Dallas got up and walked away.

"I could feel blood all over my face. I was just trying to stay calm and calm down so nobody else would freak out," said Dallas.

Even more miraculous, five nurses from Ardmore were on the river that day, too.

"They took control, and I'm very glad they was there. I hope they hear me say, 'I thank you.' And later on I want to get them down here and tell them in person how much I appreciate their help," said Pam.

Dallas was air-lifted to a Tulsa hospital where he endured six hours of plastic surgery. As of Saturday his jaw is wired shut and he now has eight titanium plates holding his face together. But through it all, his optimism is extraordinary.

"If there's something bad, I always try to make the best out of it," Dallas said.

And his faith is stronger than ever.

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