8-year-old girl takes the wheel, saves the day Abby Porters father allowed her to drive a tractor (WIBW.COM)
8-year-old girl takes the wheel, saves the day
Lexile

An 8-year-old southeast Kansas girl is being hailed for her quick, calm thinking after she grabbed the steering wheel and drove the family's SUV when her mother fell unconscious on their highway ride to school.

Abby Porter and her mom, Shelly, were on Kansas 66 headed to her school in Riverton early Wednesday when Shelly had a medical emergency and passed out behind the wheel, Galena Police Chief Larry Delmont said Thursday.

With her mother slumped over, Abby a second-grader whose father sometimes lets her steer their tractor and lawn mower leaned over and took the wheel. Delmont said at some point, Abby even executed a U-turn on the four-lane highway, "because she was going home to her daddy."

"That's at 8:37 in the morning, and there is a lot of traffic, a lot of trucks," Delmont said.

Officer Jimmy Hamilton noticed the SUV going about 20 mph and weaving a bit between the two lanes, and suspected someone was driving under the influence. As he got closer he noticed the woman slumped over in the driver seat and saw Abby at the wheel. The vehicle was also closing in on an intersection.

Hamilton tried to get in front of Abby's car to slow her down, but she kept switching lanes to avoid bumping into his car. Hamilton got alongside her and told Abby to put the vehicle in park, but she didn't know how. He then told her she needed to bump into him to stop the car, but Abby said she didn't want to because she was afraid.

He convinced Abby bumping into his car was OK.

"I never saw her cry," Hamilton said. "It was just the expression on her face and the tone of her voice, you could tell she was scared. But she stayed with it."

Hamilton said he positioned his car in front of the SUV, "and she just steered right into my rear bumper, and I started applying slow pressure on my breaks until both vehicles stopped."

Emergency crews got Abby's mother to the hospital, but Delmont said he didn't know what caused her to lose consciousness.

The police department in Galena, a town of about 3,000 residents about 150 miles south of Kansas City, planned to present Abby with a plaque for "outstanding bravery in a life-threatening situation."

The department also plans to honor Hamilton, Delmont said.

"That officer did a perfect job."

Critical thinking challenge: Why are both Abby and Officer Hamilton being honored?

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COMMENTS (54)
  • maddiechelle8
    5/16/2014 - 10:40 a.m.

    Abby and Officer Hamilton are being honored for outstanding bravery in a life-threatening situation. That's amazing that Abby was able to stay that calm. I wouldn't be able to do that.

  • Sarah H
    5/16/2014 - 11:14 a.m.

    I think Abby is very brave to get behind the wheel to prevent her mother and her from getting seriously injured. Even though Abby was only a second grader, she knew some what of what to do because her dad let her steer the wheel while on his tractor or lawnmower sometimes. It was probably a good thing a police officer saw what was happening and thought something was up, even though what he thought was wrong, it is good that he checked out and helped Abby stop and get her to safety.

  • KalynSi
    5/16/2014 - 11:39 a.m.

    She is so courageous for taking the wheel on a highway. I have no clue if I could have had the power to do that at such a young age. Her mother is so lucky that Abby had the experience that she did because if not they might not be alive.

  • kaylaVa
    5/16/2014 - 12:03 p.m.

    I think this shows it really doesn't matter how old you are to save a life and that just because she was eight years old doesn't mean she cant react in situations like that.

  • HaileySa
    5/16/2014 - 01:48 p.m.

    I think the little girl was very brave to reach over and drive the car. I would never suspect an 8-year-old to know how to operate a car as well as she did. If if wasn't for her, they would have died. I am shocked that she was able to rescue her and her mother from a major car accident.

  • BrandonI
    5/16/2014 - 01:54 p.m.

    She really is brave. I know that if I was in second grade I don't think I would have been quick enough to get the car under control. She is luck her mom's foot didn't weigh down on the gas to make them go eighty or more. I think the mom needs her license revoked for a while till she get that problem under control.

  • KailynPa
    5/16/2014 - 01:56 p.m.

    It's amazing that she was able to do something like this. I hope one day to be able to exhibit courage like this to help save not only my life but others too.

  • IsaiahColeman
    5/16/2014 - 02:33 p.m.

    Why didn't she just pull over onto the shoulder, put on the hazard lights, and call for help? That seems like the safest thing to do.

  • tylers-Sch-Sch
    5/16/2014 - 03:15 p.m.

    Abby is being honored because she had outstanding bravery in a life-threatening situation and Officer Hamilton is because he did his job perfectly and he helped save Abby from getting hurt in her mother's SUV.

  • alyssef-Orv
    5/16/2014 - 03:36 p.m.

    I'm so proud of her! She is such a brave girl for taking over her mom's SUV after her mom passed out. I believe that Officer Hamilton deserves being honored for heping Abby park. I'm so glad that he helped her and Abby deserves to be honor for being as brave as to go behind the wheel and to literally start driving.

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