A fast thinking 9-year-old Illinois girl was able to help guide her mother to safety after the woman suffered a diabetic attack while driving at speeds of up to 70 mph.
Jennifer Sheridan, 42, was driving her daughter Aleksandra to McDonald’s in Frankfort, Ill., after the two had attended a high school basketball game on the evening of Jan. 18. Sheridan, who has type 2 diabetes, had a diabetic attack when her blood sugar suddenly dropped. She told ABCNews.com that she was not aware of what was happening.
“I was still conscious, and talking, my daughter said. I don’t remember any of that,” Sheridan said. “We went through, she says, a red light, and then I know I kept saying, ‘We have to stop.’ That was in my mind, but it wasn’t clicking.”
Sheridan said that they passed her house and the McDonald’s. Aleksandra was screaming and crying during the wayward drive, which she says must have lasted 15 to 20 minutes, but kept talking to her mother.
“She says she kept telling me different things, that I was going too fast, or too slow,” Sheridan said.
While the car was still moving, Sheridan’s husband called. She said that Aleksandra was on phone screaming that they were going off the road.
Her car eventually veered to the right, through a small ditch and a group of trees. At that point Aleksandra turned the car off, preventing the still moving car from hitting a tree.
Luckily, both mother and daughter were unharmed. Once the car was off, Aleksandra slowly fed her mother a chocolate bar that was in the car’s cup holder.
“Once we were stopped and she could focus, she fed me,” Sheridan said. “She said, ‘I kept just giving little pieces so you wouldn’t choke.’”
Police and the fire department were called to the scene by a passerby who saw the incident. The story also caught local media attention from WBBM-TV and Fox News.
Sheridan says the next thing she actually remembers was being in the ambulance. Police who arrived on the scene congratulated Aleksandra, and even gave her a yellow duck toy, which they call the “Golden Duck Award for Heroes.”
This is not the first time Aleksandra has come to her mom’s aid when she had a diabetic attack. Two years ago, while they were in their home, the girl called 911 when she found her mother on the kitchen floor.
Sheridan said that she is now using an insulin pump, and that she will soon be on the list for a new pancreas. With a daughter and a 16-year-old son with cerebral palsy, she says she needs to be in top form. For now, she’s happy that both she and Aleksandra are unscathed.
“Every day, I wake up and think, ‘Yes!’” she said.