10-Year-Old Hero Grabs Control of Speeding Car After Great-Grandma Passes Out at the Wheel
08/08/2013 AT 11:00 AM EDT
Quick-thinking Gryffin Sanders, a 10-year-old Colorado boy, has been deemed a hero for taking control when his 74-year-old great-grandmother, Darlene Nestor, slouched over the steering wheel of her 4x4 while barreling down the road at 60 m.p.h. in eastern Colorado.
He says his hours playing the video game Mario Kart helped give him the confidence to grab the wheel.
"My first thought was actually, is this a test or what?" young Gryffin told 9News in Colorado, adding that Nestor passed out mid-sentence. "My heart was thumping."
"I tried to wake her up at first," Gryffin continued. "Then, I just took the wheel and drove it into the ditch."
Although the car was veering toward oncoming traffic, Gryffin expertly guided the vehicle into the muddy ditch, then passersby called 911. Nestor was airlifted to a hospital in nearby Colorado Springs and her family says she might have suffered a mild heart attack.
Gryffin's cool-under-pressure maneuver on July 26 potentially saved the lives of everyone in the car, including his 4-year-old brother in the backseat, and is now earning him nationwide praise.
"It was all him and he made a very wise decision at a very critical moment and I couldn't be a prouder father," Dad Sean told 9News.
"The car could have rolled. There could've been, you know, a travesty of an injury or even possibly a fatality," Sean added. "The good news is, we will never have to know."
Gryffin earned a medal for his bravery, and says those hours he spent playing Mario Kart may have been the key to his success.
"And, I'm pretty good at go-kart driving," he explained.