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. 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 headed to her school in Riverton when Shelly had a medical emergency. She passed out behind the wheel.

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

"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. He 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 (272)
  • Johcol
    5/16/2014 - 10:05 a.m.

    That is very scary.A little girl had to take the wheel.That takes some serious courage.This is also very dangerous for a child to take the wheel.This child is very brave for this act.

  • trentong99
    5/16/2014 - 10:06 a.m.

    that is brave for her to drive to her house and she is smart because most people learn to drive at the age of 13, 14, 15, that is cool that she could do that it's a good thing that her dad let's her drive the tractor

  • AmberMadison
    5/16/2014 - 10:17 a.m.

    I think that the girl was very brave to take control over the car, a regular child would be terrified && scream and stuff like that but the little girl took control of the wheel && got her and her mom to safety.

  • asjahgoldston
    5/16/2014 - 10:49 a.m.

    that is brave for her to drive to her house and she is smart because most people learn to drive at the age of 13, 14, 15, that is cool that she could do that it's a good thing that her dad let's her drive the tractor

  • anessiacurrie
    5/16/2014 - 11:03 a.m.

    She grabbed the steering wheel and drove the family's SUV when her mother fell unconscious on their highway ride to school. That's really amazing. That was really brave of her.

  • jojogarcia
    5/16/2014 - 11:10 a.m.

    Both Abby and Officer Hamilton are being honored for their heroic deeds. I think Abby is the one who deserves the most credit because she was the one driving the car and Officer Hamilton just helped her stop the car. I think its cool that a second grader knows how to drive a car.

  • allym-Weh
    5/16/2014 - 12:40 p.m.

    It was really brave of her to do that. Especially because she is only eight. I'm thirteen and I would be to scared to think. I am glad they they are giving her an award for her bravery.

  • aydenr-Weh
    5/16/2014 - 12:47 p.m.

    If I were at the wheel I probably would've crashed and most likely would've gotten myself hurt. I can't believe an 8 year old girl was able to do this. It says that the officer thought that the people in front of him were under the influence ,but he later figured out that Abby was at the wheel and this says a lot about ourselves. This clearly states that we jump to conclusions to quickly. Overall this was an awesome article about bravery in little kids.

  • kayla l
    5/16/2014 - 12:49 p.m.

    I really like this story. I think Abby and Officer Hamilton are getting honored because Abby saved her and her mom and whoever els that was in their car, She wasn't afraid. The Officer is getting honored because he saved her from crashing, he helped her and her mother. I like this story,

  • caitlink-Weh
    5/16/2014 - 12:54 p.m.

    Wow that's something I don't know what I would do if that happened I mean if I was a second grader. But now I would still freak out about someone pasted out but I would have freaked out more if I was a second grader

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