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

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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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  • JJ5donut
    5/16/2014 - 01:10 p.m.

    This child should be fastened in the back seat. If they got any closwer to traffic this wopuld be very dangerous. The man in the car was very courageous and caring to get his car hit and save this family.

  • 3054595
    5/16/2014 - 01:47 p.m.

    That is so brave of her to just take the wheel in a time of need. She could have just not of done anything but I am glad she did.

  • Kia2001
    5/16/2014 - 01:47 p.m.

    Abby did a very brave act and steered her car when her mother fell unconscious while driving, and officer Hamilton is being honored because he helped Abby stop the car and kept her calm.

  • jborchardt7
    5/16/2014 - 02:23 p.m.

    Abby is a very smart little girl. Not many adults would know what to do in that situation. I'm very fascinated that Abby knew what to do in that situation. I think she is a very brave little girl for not crying during any of this. Abby deserves to be honored.

  • atayal-Orv
    5/16/2014 - 02:27 p.m.

    Abby and Officer Hamilton are being honored because a child took the wheel and was trying to save her mom. Officer Hamilton is being honored because he helped the little girl stop the car before she got into a car accident.I think that is inspiring.

  • jessicap321750
    5/16/2014 - 02:31 p.m.

    wooow she is amazing !!! i cant even do that and she is younger than me !!!! i cant believe that !! she is awsome cause she saved her moms live cause she was driving to her house to tell her dad about her mom . and her dad is awsome to cause he showed her how to drive a lawn mower that is lile a car !! she has a good family !!

  • lowe-brunetteshortty
    5/16/2014 - 03:05 p.m.

    Abby is being rewarded because of her bravery at the wheel. But the officer is rewarded because of him helping her. They both deserve a reward for bravery.

  • traw-KK
    5/16/2014 - 03:47 p.m.

    bc a b b y is the o ne who took I do not even no but she took something the the cop or whatnot honnered her

  • AnnikaH-2
    5/16/2014 - 04:11 p.m.

    In summary, an 8 year old girl saved both her mother and herself. When Abby Porter's mom fell asleep at the wheel on the way to school, Abby took control of the car. A police officer helped Abby stop the car. She is being presented with an award for her actions.
    I think this is really cool. I would not have done that if I was in that situation.

  • EvanF-2
    5/16/2014 - 05:45 p.m.

    A second grader named Abby was being driven to school by her mom, Shelly when she suddenly passed out unconscious at the wheel. Abby, having steered a tractor before with her dad, knew what she had to do. She quickly took to the wheel, driving back to her house. An officer noticed the car driving at 20 mph and thought someone was DUI. He noticed Abby pulling up and told her to stop and so she had to bump into his car to slow down because she didn't know how to stop.
    I think this shows great courage, especially for a child this young. She used her knowledge of the road to drive the car in what would be a frightening situation for anyone, let alone an 8-year-old!

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