Lifestyle & Belief

Miranda Bowman, 12-year-old girl, steers car to safety when grandfather dies at the wheel


A 12-year-old girl had the presence of mind to steer a pickup truck to safety after her grandfather died at the wheel and the vehicle began accelerating.


Scott Olson

When the pickup truck her grandfather was driving sped down the road after the driver had a heart attack, 12-year-old Miranda Bowman knew she had to stop it.

The girl from New Jersey was driving home with her grandfather, Paul Parker, when he complained about not feeling well. He told her "Miranda I'm scared, I've never felt like this before," she told the Associated Press. His head hit the window when he suffered heart failure and died.

Parker's foot was still on the truck's accelerator, pushing the vehicle to 80 mph on a rural road in Burlington Township last Tuesday, according to Time. Bowman tried to dial 911 and pushing the brake pedal couldn't counteract her grandfather's foot on the accelerator, said Time.

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After debating putting the vehicle in park and deciding the truck was moving too fast and would fish tail or flip over, Bowman grabbed the steering wheel.

"I was looking around and thought, 'Should I go into the corn field, should I keep going?'" she told the AP. "Down the street was a red light and I saw woods. I said I can't hurt anybody else, I can only hurt myself," by driving towards the trees, she said.

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"It sounds weird, but I saw people do this on TV," she said, according to NBC News.

Bowman was uninjured in the crash, but she was crying hysterically after the accident, according to Burlington County Times. Her father, Jim Bowman, a firefighter and emergency medical technician, said, "I am so proud of her." He added, "I’ve been doing this for 23 years and it makes you tear up thinking about what could have happened."

Bowman's mother, Stephanie Bowman, said, "She is my hero."