DENVER, Colorado (KUSA) – When Gryffin Sanders saw his great grandmother pass out behind the wheel of a car while going 60 miles per hour, he wasn’t quite sure what was happening. A few moments later, the boy knew he had to do something.
“My first thought was actually, is this a test or what?” Gryffin, 10, said. “My heart was thumping.”
Gryffin said his great grandmother, 74-year-old Darlene Nestor, passed out while in mid-sentence.
“I tried to wake her up at first,” Gryffin said. “Then, I just took the wheel and drove it into the ditch.”
This all happened Friday afternoon on the eastern plains near the town of Hugo. Gryffin was visiting relatives when he and his 4-year-old brother were riding with Nestor. Gryffin was sitting in the front seat when he realized their car was veering towards oncoming traffic.
“I wanted us to get somewhere where we could out of the way of traffic, I guess,” Gryffin said.
His father, Sean Sanders, calls him a hero.
“It was all him and he made a very wide decision at a very critical moment and I couldn’t be a prouder father,” Sean said.
His mother was pretty proud, too.
“My mom actually told me after, ‘I’m so glad that you turned into the ditch,’” Gryffin said. “I guess I just had the instincts not to [freak out].”
The car slowed down in the ditch filled with mud and he and his brother were unharmed. Passersby stopped to call 911 and help his great grandmother. Sean said there easily could have been head-on collision.
“The car could have rolled. There could’ve been, you know, a travesty of an injury or even possibly a fatality,” Sean said. “The good news is we will never have to know.”
Luckily, this is not the first time Gryffin has driven. He says he learned a lot playing the video game “Mario Kart”.
“And, I’m pretty good at go kart driving,” Gryffin said.
Nestor was air lifted to a hospital in Colorado Springs, where Sean says doctors are trying to figure out exactly what happened. Sean Sanders says it may have been a mild heart attack.
Oddly enough, the first responder on the scene was Gryffin’s cousin, who is a sheriff’s deputy. He awarded Gryffin a medal for his bravery.
“The proudest moment I think of this is he’s been so humble about it,” Sean said. “There’s nothing more I could ask of him.”