Neighbor discusses finding 73-year-old victim under car

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - One small mistake led to a tragic accident. The 73-year-old victim, Martha Hardeman, lost her life after being struck by her own car on July 8, 2013 on Natha Avenue in Columbus, Georgia.

Hardeman had not put the car in park, and the mirror on the driver's side had pushed her down as the car rolled back.

Hardeman was found around 7:30 p.m. by Lisa Rabon who lived across from Hardeman's house.

"I noticed something was odd," Rabon explained. "Earlier that day, I noticed that Ms. Martha's car was running and the headlights were on. The vehicle was just sitting still on the driveway. I could see the car from my house, but I couldn't see Ms. Martha from where I was standing. Without thinking too much about it, I drove off to work."

Later that night when Rabon returned from work, her son pointed out to her that Hardeman's car was still running.

"I realized the car had not moved at all. Plus, it was still on. I knew something was odd, so I headed over there around 7:30 that night," Rabon said, taking a deep breath. "I saw her shoe underneath the car. So I carefully walked over the driver's side, and I saw Ms. Martha underneath the front tires. Her wheels had been turned, and it looked like she was trying to park it inside the garage. There were grocery bags inside the car, so she might have come back home from grocery shopping."

Rabon continued to explain that she found Martha Hardeman with her sunglasses still on.

"She looked like she was sleeping," Rabon said. "I checked her pulse, she wasn't breathing. The car's tire was on top of her chest. So I quickly called the 911."

Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan said Martha Hardeman's death was ruled as an accidental death. She died from asphyxiation, which is the inability to breathe.

Hardeman appeared to have been dead from 8 to 10 hours.

Rabon explained that Hardeman's house had been given to her by her former patient whom she looked over. The deceased patient wrote in his will that his house was to be given to Martha Hardeman.

Rabon explains that Hardeman moved into the house about 5 to 6 years ago. Rabon said she remembers Hardeman as a kind neighbor who liked to come and play with her dogs.

"This accident was so tragic. I don't think I can ever forget finding such a nice neighbor of mine underneath a car," Rabon said. "It makes me realize that safety is everything."

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