CUYAHOGA FALLS — One might think the neighbors would hear cries for help, even if it was after dark on a sub-freezing night in December.
But as the minutes went by and her voice grew hoarse from yelling, "Help me!" Teresa Babb, began to get worried, as she couldn’t get up after falling down her front porch stairs and breaking her leg.
The Phelps Avenue resident had gone out to get a toy for her dog, leaving her front door open as she started down the porch steps.
"The neighborhood cat came around and wrapped himself around my feet and I tripped over him and I fell off the porch," she said. "It’s only about two steps down, but I hit the side of my brick house, and I slipped down and I hit my head."
Hurting from the fall, she began to call for help, and continued for about a half hour, she estimated.
"I was screaming and screaming," she said. "I was in the mulch between a bush and the porch."
But nobody came, until a neighbor two blocks away on 11th Street heard her calling and told her husband.
Stephen Sikler said he and his wife Taylor had just put their son to bed. It was after 8 p.m. and Taylor went to take their dog outside.
She heard Babb calling out from two blocks away and went to get Stephen, insisting he go find the source.
"We heard somebody crying ‘Help, help, help,’ but it was really far away and I thought it was just some stray cat," he said, explaining neighborhood cats often make repetitive wailing noises.
"I said, ‘I’ll go check it out,’ and so I hopped into my car and drove around the neighborhood a little bit and I came up to the intersection of 13th and Phelps and sure enough, I saw a cat on the sidewalk.
"I was on the phone with my wife, and I said, ‘See, I told you it was a cat.’"
"She asked, ‘What’s the cat doing?’ So I pulled toward the house and shone my headlights on the house, and there was Teresa laying on the ground."
Stephen said he got out of the car, ran up and asked what happened, called 911 and went into the house to get a blanket for her.
"I think it was 19 degrees that night. It was very cold, very chilly."
"I was surprised that nobody else heard her except for me and my wife," he said.
Babb said the fire department had to get and extra squad to help lift her from the position she had fallen into. She was eventually diagnosed with a fractured femur, spent three days in the hospital and another week in a nursing home before being released.
It could have been worse, as Teresa said she watched Stephen driving closer and closer to her house, then slow down when he saw the cat on her sidewalk.
"I just started waving my hands and screaming louder and louder," she said. "I’m just so blessed that he found me. I had visions of the paperboy finding me at 3 in the morning."
Eric Marotta can be reached at 330-541-9433, or firstname.lastname@example.org.