Hero Jonathan, schoolboy with Asperger's syndrome, steers car across busy road to safety after mother blacks out|
PLYMOUTH, UK: Hero schoolboy Jonathan Anderson, who has Asperger's syndrome, saved himself and his mum when he steered their car across three lanes of busy traffic at 70mph after she blacked out at the wheel.
The nine-year-old slowed the car with the handbrake, steered it as it veered across the road into a crash barrier then brought it back to the slow lane before it careered up a bank and hit a tree.
When the car stopped, Jonathan calmly switched on the hazard lights and waited for help to arrive.
On January 30, his mother, Marion, 34, said: "He's my little superhero. The last thing I remember is driving over a flyover to take Jonathan to school. The next thing I saw was a paramedic fitting a brace around my neck. I couldn't believe it when I was told what Jonathan had done."
Jonathan said of his ordeal in Plymouth: "Mummy passed out so I held the steering wheel, pulled the handbrake and put the hazard lights on. The car stopped and the windscreen smashed. I've never driven a car before. It was scary."
Paramedic Pete Holden said: "We were incredibly impressed with little Jonathan's brave actions to save his mother's life.His quick thinking prevented a much more serious accident."
Traffic cop Sam Pullen added: "He's a hero. He saved his and his mother's lives."
Marion, still in hospital while doctors try to find out why she blacked out, added: "He is an incredibly bright boy. Part of his autism has seen him develop into a very technically minded person. He is constantly telling me he wants to learn to drive. He has an acute understanding of the way cars work.
"I was shocked when I saw the damage because it brought home how serious the accident was and that we could easily have died."
Jonathan, who is fascinated by cars, knew what to do when the Toyota Avensis veered into the central reservation of a dual carriageway at 70mph.Holding the wheel with one hand, he applied the handbrake to slow the car, steering back to the inside lane. The car mounted the bank and hit a tree before coming to a standstill by the side of the road. He then put on the hazard lights and sat patiently waiting for help to arrive.
The incident happened on the busy A38, close to Jonathan’s home in Plympton, near Plymouth, in south-west England. His mother, Marion, 34, was taking him to the special school he attends because he has Asperger’s syndrome.
Doctors believe that she passed out because of an underactive thyroid.
Pete Holden, one of two paramedics to attend the scene, said: “We were incredibly impressed with Jonathan’s brave actions. It must have been a very frightening experience, but his level head and quick thinking prevented a much more serious accident.”
Robbie Brown, an architect who was two cars behind Marion, said: “It was quite a shocking sight to see and I’m amazed no one was seriously hurt, given that the car swerved across the road twice.”
Jonathan will receive a bravery certificate from South Western Ambulance Service.
Marion, who has a curtain-making business, was allowed home after a hospital check-up. She said that her son’s condition meant he was fascinated by everything mechanical.
“Part of his autism has seen him develop into a very technically-mind-ed person,” she said. “He loves mechanical objects and is constantly telling me he wants to learn to drive ... I’m sure he reacted the way he did in the accident because he has an understanding of cars and therefore how to stop them.”
The two-year-old Toyota was written off. She added: “I was shocked when I saw the damage because it brought home how serious the accident was and that we could easily have died. When I was lying in A&E, the nurses told me what a miracle it was and how clever my son is. I’ve always been proud of him but even more so now.”
(Sources: Daily Mirror, The Times, January 31, 2008)