Brooklyn Girl, 7, Drives Car After Dad Passes Out

A 7-year-old Brooklyn girl was in the backseat, in her seatbelt, out for a drive with her dad when suddenly he  passed out, seemingly  from a drug overdose. The girl unbuckled her belt, jumped onto his lap and proceeded to steer the car.

Two emergency medical technicians spotted her and one, Arlene Garcia, started yelling at her to brake, something the girl apparently couldn’t do.

Then, reports the New York Daily News:

As the child kept a snail’s pace, the first responders came up with a plan.

“We said to ourselves, ‘How do you stop her?’ So we pulled right in front of her with the ambulance and that’s how we stopped it,” Garcia explained.

Once the car came to a stop, the EMTs got out and asked the girl what had happened.

She explained the situation  — “My dad was sleeping so I was going to finish driving him home” — and said she was worried about getting punished for driving without permission.

The dad was taken to Coney Island hospital and charged with endangering a child and driving under the influence.

The girl?

Just more proof that kids are far more competent than we give them credit for. It shouldn’t take a near- tragedy to remind us that they are quick-thinking, problem-solving humans, not just precious cargo. – L.

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A quick-thinking 7-year-old drove her dad’s car after she passed out.

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16 Responses to Brooklyn Girl, 7, Drives Car After Dad Passes Out

  1. Richard July 23, 2017 at 11:19 am #

    More and more it seems like the only children in our society encouraged to problem solve and become independent are those who cannot rely on the adults in their lives. Of course, they often don’t get the guidance and feedback that more attentive adults can provide to help them improve their decision making skills and judgment.

  2. david zaitzeff July 23, 2017 at 12:51 pm #

    It seems as if kids from 6 to 15 ought to be given a few basic instructions on what to do if the driver of their car passes out or has a health crisis and isn’t functioning. In society, we tend to assume that all drivers will at all times be aware and functioning but if search on the net for “driver passes out” we find that some drivers have passed out while driving intoxicated and others have passed out also while having various unforeseen and somewhat unforeseeable health emergencies.

  3. Dana July 23, 2017 at 1:09 pm #

    I have no memory of this incident; my parents sometimes reminded me about it: Back in 1967, when I was four years old, I rescued a drowning girl from the swimming pool in our apartment building. Back then, fences were not required to be in place around pools. Apparently we were both in the pool area without adult supervision.

  4. elizabeth July 23, 2017 at 3:37 pm #

    Interesting story, and more proof that kids are smart.

  5. Theresa Hall July 23, 2017 at 6:19 pm #

    What is with these people fooling around with drugs to point they over dose pass out and die? Don’t any of them think of their kids? Or they too selfish too care about all of those who love them?

  6. Jill R July 23, 2017 at 9:21 pm #

    Theresa Hall– if drug addiction could be avoided or “cured” by addicts simply “thinking about their kids” or “not being selfish”, we wouldn’t have an opioid epidemic sweeping North America. It’s a disease. It is a disease that also involves a good amount of bad decision-making, for sure…kind of like (some, not ALL) lung disease caused by using tobacco, or heart disease, diabetes, etc caused by people making poor food and lifestyle choices.
    It’s a lot more complex than you make it seem in your comment…socioeconomic status/poverty, culture, upbringing, genetics, life history/traumatic experiences, mental illness, lack of family and community support… many healthy people who are financially stable and well-supported by friends and family become addicts from simply being under high levels of pressure or stress, without adequate tools to deal with these things.

    It really bothers me to see people being so ignorant about this because this isn’t NEW information. It’s well-known, well-documented, and I would think at this point that it’s common knowledge. Maybe you do know all this, and you just wanted to click your tongue and shake your head, just for something to talk about.
    I usually notice people doing this because they often do it to click their tongues and shake their heads about how “the world is a dangerous place these days” and “it’s not like it used to be when we were kids”. I try to be very conscious of this kind of idle small talk, and challenge it when I can, because I think it’s harmful. It perpetuates stereotypes and reinforces often false beliefs about people and the world in general.

    Anyway, sorry for writing a novel here, but it’s just a good reminder to think before you speak–or type.

  7. Mark of Melbourne July 24, 2017 at 12:15 am #

    Hi Lenore.. wow this is such a great story. further proof that we just don’t know what a child is capable of until they are put in the position to show us what they are capable of!!!! Then we discover they are amazing!!!
    Keep the good stuff coming!!
    Mark

  8. sexhysteria July 24, 2017 at 1:18 am #

    Inspiring story!

  9. Kimberly Albertson July 24, 2017 at 1:45 am #

    Jill, you make some very good points. I’d also like to point out that if you read beyond the hyperbole, and without actually knowing the story, this could have very well been a case where the father had a bad reaction to an opioid pain killer which is a lot more common than most people realize.

  10. Katie G July 24, 2017 at 6:18 am #

    Mr. Zaitzeff has a good suggestion, one to be included in safety courses (perhaps analogous to Fire Prevention Week presentations?)

  11. Joan July 24, 2017 at 9:37 am #

    Does anyone else remember the book Hatchet? I know that kid was in his teens (and fictional), but he successfully (survivably anyway) landed a plane when the pilot died of a sudden heart attack.
    As soon as kids are tall enough to reach the pedals while looking out the windshield, it seems like good basic safety precautions to teach them how to safely stop a vehicle (probably not a plane though), since there are far more ways than drug overdose for a driver to become incapacitated.

  12. Jp Merzetti July 24, 2017 at 4:17 pm #

    Hey. Millions of people are on meds of one kind or another.
    Many of those occasionally have a “bad med day.”
    Regardless……………………….

    Had this child been a hyper-protected kid and acted accordingly (as we might expect) what would have been the result?
    A multiple car pileup with multiple deaths?
    Instead……(lord love her) she performed the obvious solution to the problem…
    (and of course, couldn’t brake ’cause her wee feeties do not reach the pedal.) that’s whatcha get for having short leggies….

    And yeah, I get her high anxiety over driving underage and without a license (or dad’s permission.)
    Children are indeed capable of far more than we believe they are.
    Giant thumbs up to you, kiddo!

    And I just gotta say it: whatever dysfunction exists around the lives of children – they will often figure out a way to deal with it. Kids are built like that.

  13. James July 25, 2017 at 1:07 am #

    She did the right thing. Children are smarter than we give them credit for. I hope everything went well for her and her father..

  14. Papilio July 25, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

    Jill: “It is a disease that also involves a good amount of bad decision-making, for sure…kind of like (some, not ALL) lung disease caused by using tobacco, or heart disease, diabetes, etc caused by people making poor food and lifestyle choices.”
    I remember the time I read the story of a severely obese mother who already had lost her husband to a heart attack or so caused by his severe obesity. At which point I realized, ‘what the what!? – there must be obesity orphans in the United States.

    Kimberley: “this could have very well been a case where the father had a bad reaction to an opioid pain killer which is a lot more common than most people realize”
    That’s a good point. My thoughts were going down that same path of ‘irresponsible drug addict who shouldn’t have children’, until I read that last bit about his surprised neighbor and that tennis elbow.

    I also though it not wise to teach young children how to drive, because maybe you’ll save a couple of lives in these unlikely events, but how many will take up joydriving a couple years later?, on the other hand, any idiot could probably drive a non-manual car so teaching them isn’t going to make much of a difference anyway… 😛 (Where is that grinning devil emoticon when you need it?)

  15. Craig July 26, 2017 at 4:11 am #

    Some of you might have been or knew one of those farm kids who at around 12, at harvest time, had the job of driving the grain truck on the field, then driving the 5 ton truck load to the local elevator with standard steering and brakes and a mechanical clutch up the ramp to dump the load. I wasn’t one of those but my cousins were.

    12 year olds now aren’t even allowed on the road on a bicycle by themselves.. very sad, and even potentially deadly..

  16. jim d pruett July 31, 2017 at 2:45 pm #

    He probably let her steer in his lap as I have with both my kids.

    Kids forget that they can turn the key… I will have to remember to have my 11 year old “try that” so he sees that it doesn’t instantly halt the car….