Neb. Boy, 6, Takes Wheel After Dad Faints
Boy Steers Until Police Can Halt Truck
POSTED: Friday, May 22, 2009
UPDATED: 11:26 am EDT May 22, 2009
NORTH PLATTE, Neb. -- A 6-year-old boy grabbed the wheel of his family's pickup truck when his father passed out from low blood sugar, keeping the vehicle from crashing until an officer could bring it to a halt, police said.
Tustin Mains was in the back seat with his 3-year-old brother Sunday when his father, Phillip Mains, slumped over at the wheel, the boy told police. The family had been driving home from a restaurant.
"I remember getting up to about the mall -- that was about 6:45," Mains told The North Platte Telegraph. "The next thing I remember was waking up to the officer and paramedics, and it was 8:15."
Tustin leapt into his father's lap so he could steer and see out the windshield. Mains' foot had slipped off the accelerator, but even at idle the Chevrolet Avalanche was going an estimated 10-15 mph, police said.
The kindergartner steered the truck several blocks, even turning around when he entered a neighborhood he didn't recognize, until he was spotted by police.
North Platte officer Roger Freeze ran up to the moving pickup, reached through an open window and rammed the gearshift into park.
Police Chief Martin Gutschenritter praised his officer and young Tustin.
"I will be issuing him a departmental citation for his quick, professional action on this case. That is also a very special young man. He was able to take quick action when his dad was incapacitated, and we are very proud of him, too," Gutschenritter said.
When he saw his dad "fall asleep," Tustin said, he got scared, then got another fright when Freeze appeared at the truck's window.
When Freeze abruptly stopped the pickup, Tustin said, "I was just happy."