10-Year-Old Boy Grabs Steering Wheel to Save Elderly Driver, Prevent Head-On Crash

Christopher Wheeler is being hailed as a hero for his actions.

March 28, 2016, 3:36 PM
PHOTO: Christopher Wheeler, 10, with Agent Eric Salvador and Trooper Lee Walls.
Christopher Wheeler, 10, with Agent Eric Salvador and Trooper Lee Walls.
Alabama Law Enforcement Agency

— -- A 10-year-old Alabama boy is being hailed as a hero for jumping behind the wheel of a pickup truck after the truck’s elderly driver went into diabetic shock.

Christopher Wheeler Jr., of Montgomery, was riding along with his 70-year-old neighbor, whom the family calls “Big Mitch,” last Thursday when Big Mitch started losing consciousness and began swerving in traffic.

Eric Salvador, a special agent with the state's attorney general's office, happened to be driving behind the truck when it began to swerve on the crowded Interstate.

"I made a traffic stop, turned on my lights and sirens and the vehicle refused to stop," Salvador told ABC News. "There was a bunch of material in the back of the truck so I had no idea who was inside."

Salvador followed the truck for several miles as it turned off the Interstate. He turned on his police sirens again as the truck went into oncoming traffic, ran a red light and almost crashed head-on with several other cars.

"The truck slowly starts to get over and you see the brakes starting to be applied ... it wasn’t a full slam on the brakes," Salvador said of how the chase ended. "I approached the vehicle and as I’m going, I see Christopher in the passenger seat looking at me and he looks absolutely terrified."

Salvador, who was joined at the scene by a state trooper, Lee Walls, said he thought it could be a child abduction so he approached the vehicle with caution.

"Christopher turned off the truck and I still can’t see the driver’s hands," Salvador said. "The driver isn’t complying so Christopher grabbed his hand and put it on the steering wheel so I could approach the car."

"When I got to the truck, Christopher said, 'I want to go home,' and he jumped out of the truck and ran back to the trooper's car," he said.

The driver was found unconscious at the scene and treated by medical personnel, who transported him to a local hospital. Neither Christopher nor any other drivers were injured in the incident.

"I’ve been doing law enforcement almost eight years and I’ve never heard or seen anything like this happen," Salvador said. "What Christoper did is nothing short of impressive."

Christopher’s dad, Christopher Wheeler Sr., told ABC News he taught his son how to drive at a young age so he knew right where the brakes were.

“He thought quick,” Wheeler said of his son. “He said he was scared and his life was in danger.”

Christopher told Salvador and Walls that he wanted to be a police officer when he grows up, so the pair took a photo with him. The photo was posted on Facebook by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

Walls took Christopher to a fast food restaurant for a snack until his family arrived to take him home.

“I’m just proud of him,” Wheeler said of his son.

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