(TOPEKA, Kan.) -- An 8-year-old girl from Kansas is being lauded as a hero after steering a car to safety through rush hour traffic on a busy highway after her mother passed out behind the wheel.
Abby Porter was riding alongside her mother on the way to school Wednesday morning when her mother, Shelly Porter, slumped unconscious in the driver's seat. Young Abby grabbed hold of the steering wheel as the car kept going, Galena police said.
Officer James Hamilton spotted the car weaving back and forth between two eastbound lanes and pulled up alongside the vehicle.
“The driver of the vehicle was leaning back to the right side unconscious,” Hamilton told ABC News. “There was a child in the console area steering the vehicle.”
The car was traveling at about 20 miles per hour, and Hamilton shouted for the girl to roll down her window.
“She had a scared look on her face, you could tell by the tone of her voice she was scared,” he said.
Hamilton directed the girl to allow him to pull in front of her car and then allow her mother’s car to run into the patrol car’s rear bumper. Initially the young girl was afraid and swerved several times to avoid hitting the police cruiser, but eventually allowed her car to run into Hamilton’s.
He then applied the brakes slowly and both cars came to a stop. Emergency medical service workers were called and took Abby’s mother to a hospital, where she was treated and released. The seizure that caused Shelly Porter to pass out is believed to have been related to a diabetic condition, police said.
Hamilton praised the little girl’s composure throughout the ordeal.
“She was never crying through the whole thing,” Hamilton said. “She did a great job maintaining control of the vehicle, she did an excellent job for an 8-year-old little girl."
Abby’s father, Roger, initially feared the worst when the police arrived at his home with his daughter, and was relieved to find out his wife and daughter were unharmed.
“We are as proud as you can be,” Roger Porter told ABC News. “We are all in agreement that the Good Lord was in control of the situation and an angel was in the car with that little girl.”
Mr. Porter, a farmer, said he occasionally lets his daughter help him steer his tractor. “She’s gotten some practice steering doing that,” he said.
Galena Police Chief Larry Delmond told ABC News the situation was remarkable and praised Hamilton’s decisive action. “He has also done a great deed by saving this girl’s life and will be receiving an award from the city,” Delmond said. “It was smart thinking and reaction on his part."
Abby Porter was awarded a certificate for bravery Thursday by the Galena Police Department at a school assembly. According to her father, Abby’s newfound celebrity isn’t getting in the way of her studies.
“I have to get to school, I have a spelling test,” she told her father immediately upon arriving home after her rescue.
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