12-year-old girl steers car to safety

July 30, 2012 at 5:22 PM
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BURLINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J., July 30 (UPI) -- A 12-year-old New Jersey girl steered a speeding car to safety after her grandfather died of heart failure at the wheel with his foot on the gas pedal.

Miranda Bowman of Burlington Township and her grandfather, Paul Parker, were making their way home from an afternoon of go-karting Tuesday when he was stricken, The Burlington County (N.J.) Times reported.

"He said he didn't feel well and told me to just keep talking to him," Miranda said. "Then he said he was scared, closed his eyes and put his head on the glass. That's when I knew he was dead."

Miranda said she tried to call 911, but in the heat of moment with the car racing up to 80 mph, couldn't unlock her cellphone.

"I thought I was going to die too," she said. "I didn't know what to do. I took off my seat belt and slid over to put my foot on the brake, but I couldn't stop it."

She said she then steered the car toward some bushes and a tree to slow it down.

"It sounds weird, but I saw people do this on TV," she said. "The car just kept running over bushes and trees. I ducked down and covered my head."

The car finally stopped and Miranda was unharmed.

"I kicked the door open and was just crying and screaming," Miranda said. "People must have thought I was a lunatic."

Miranda's mother, Stephanie Bowman, said although she was upset over the loss of her father, she is proud of her daughter's bravery in the situation.

"As much as I am upset about losing my father, I can't even imagine how worse this could have been," Bowman said. "She is my hero. You can't imagine how proud I am of her."

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